Q & A: From my inbox this week:
Q: I love going to farmer’s markets this time of year, and it sounds silly, but I never know what to make with the food that’s available there. Any ideas?
A: Yes, it’s not a silly question- because farmer’s market’s are seasonal, not every ingredient in most recipes are widely available at that time, so you have to be a bit creative. A sure bet all summer long are zucchini and summer squashes, so give this Italian Zucchini Salad a try next time: it’s quick, fresh, and has a slight kick to it. It’s a perfect make-ahead lunch or side dish for light summer dinners, and when you buy it from a farmer’s market, it will be a lot less expensive for the ingredients. What’s not to love?
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow summer squash
fresh basil (or oregano, tarragon or other fresh herbs)
1 generous scoop organic whole milk ricotta cheese
high quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
red pepper flakes, sea salt & pepper to taste
1. With a vegetable peeler, thinly scrape the zucchini and summer squash into long ribbons:
Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons
2. Add the ribbons to a wide bowl. Season generously with sea salt and pepper. Drizzle with your high quality olive oil. Toss and set aside.
3. Roll up basil leaves and snip over the bowl with kitchen scissors- as much or as little as you’d like. Any other herbs are great too:
Zucchini, Squash & Fresh Basil
4. Add a small scoop of ricotta cheese. Season with more pepper. Squeeze a 1/2 lemon over the top:
Zucchini, Squash, Basil & Ricotta with lemon
5. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (use your discretion of course), toss and serve:
Italian Zucchini Salad, photographed by simplyrealfood
Notes: If you have the time, let the salad settle in the fridge for at least an hour (or overnight) before serving. Other great variations could include fresh garlic, goat or parmesan cheese, roasted baby tomatoes, fresh chopped mint, pine nuts or olives.