Monday, July 13, 2009

Meatless Monday: Arugula Salad with Zucchini Carpaccio & Parmesan

My husband and I just got back from being on vacation in the Midwest for almost 3 weeks. Being away for that long was fun, but it left us missing many of the comforts of home. We were happy to return to our own bed, our mentally challenged but ever-sweet cat, . . . and our CSA box.

During many parts of our trip, we found ourselves on long stretches of highway that offered precious little in the way of civilization between destinations. Not a good situation for hungry travelers to find themselves in. This, of course, meant we ended up eating fast food on more occasions than I'd care to admit (or care to remind myself).

I know I've complained on a few occasions about our CSA box (like - What on earth am I going to do with yet ANOTHER bunch of Easter radishes? . . . No, seriously, any ideas??), but this trip left me jonesing for Underwood Family Farms' fresh lettuces, succulent strawberries, crisp green beans, and so much more. (The green beans I got with my dinner one night . . . were floating in water and BACON BITS. The menu made no mention of meat being included in this side dish; silly me for not assuming!).

We had just started getting zucchini and summer squash in our CSA box when we had to cancel pick-ups for the duration of our trip. (What a tease!) We were eager to get back and have more, and this next recipe is one good reason why.

Arugula Salad with Zucchini Carpaccio & Parmesan
  • Arugula
  • Zucchini
  • Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

This salad is kind of an amalgam of a few different recipes we've tried before, so I don't have real measurements or quantities to share with you, so you'll have to rely on your own culinary judgment and personal preferences to come out with the right proportion of ingredients for you. But that should be easy because this is a really simple recipe.

I'm borrowing the steps for preparing the zucchini from an old 2006 L.A. Times article (written by Russ Parsons), the link to which I just can't seem to locate right now:

"1. Rinse and cut the ends from the zucchini. Cut the zucchini in lengthwise quarters and then crosswise into one-third-to one-half-inch slices. Do not slice thinner or the zucchini will turn mushy during salting.

2. In a mixing bowl, toss the zucchini slices with the salt to coat well. Turn the zucchini into a strainer and position it over the bowl to catch the liquid that drains. Set aside for 30 minutes. You'll see when the zucchini is ready because the sharp cut corners will soften.

3. After 30 minutes, discard the liquid that has collected in the bowl and wipe the bowl dry. Rinse the zucchini well under cold running water until it tastes only slightly salty. Pat the zucchini dry in a kitchen towel and return it to the mixing bowl."

4. Arrange a bed of arugula in each of the salad bowls you're serving. Distribute the zucchini slices evenly over the top of the arugula. Shave pieces of Parmesan on the top (as much as you'd like).

5. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and squeeze lemon juice over salad. (I suggest using a light hand with both.)

6. Eat!

The zucchini preparation may seem like a bit much, but it's so worth it. It really brings out the nutty flavor in zucchini and complements the Parmesan and spicy arugula really well. (I know - nutty? Zucchini? Trust me, you'll see [or, rather, taste] what I mean, and you'll LOVE it.)

Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!

Other Meatless Monday posts

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