It’s that time of year again. Time to break out the Zucchini Files. Being members of a CSA means we get a lot of what grows well, and nothing grows better than zucchini squash. So, over the years, we’ve searched high and low for recipes which use that prolific vegetable, and presented them to you fellow scratcher. This summer, we’re starting with a recipe of our own invention: Zucchini Citrus Salad. Keep reading, and you might just find a new way to use up a few zucchini squash this summer.
We were originally going to make a simple Zucchini and Bread Salad with some of those Goldmine squash we collected last week. But, as we were getting the squash from the crisper drawer, we noticed we had some oranges, grapefruit, and limes, too. We happen to like fruit in our salads, so why not combine them?
There are hundreds of varieties of zucchini squash; ours happened to be Goldmine squash, but any variety will work. As it happened, our oranges were Valencia and very sweet, which worked well with the slightly bitter grapefruit and tart lime. Finally, we make our own croutons to order: cube bread, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes; turn oven off and let croutons dry in the oven an additional 10 minutes. It’s simple enough that we can have them done about the time the salad is ready, and we do recommend it, especially if you scratch out your own bread.
Procedure in detail:
Dice squash and drain. Here’s how we dice zucchini. First, cut off the stem and flower ends, then cut the zucchini lengthwise into 3-5 “planks,” depending on the size. Cut each plank into 3-5 long sticks, align the sticks, and cut into cubes. Once cubed, place the zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Toss and sprinkle a bit more. Use about 1/4 teaspoon of salt altogether. Let the squash drain for about 30 minutes. Salting and draining will eliminate some of the excess moisture and counteract the slight bitterness in zucchini.
Supreme citrus. Meanwhile, supreme the grapefruit and orange, dividing the segments between two large bowls. Supreming citrus is simply cutting out the fruit segments, and it’s not that difficult. Cut off the top and bottom of the citrus, cutting just far enough to expose the fruit. Stand the fruit on a cut end and use a chef’s knife to cut off the peel, exposing the fruit all around. As you cut, you’ll feel the boundary between the fruit and the peel, so this is easier than you may think. Now, simply pick up the fruit and use a chef’s knife to cut down along each membrane, releasing the segments of fruit. Once all the segments are cut free, squeeze out the juice into the bowls.
Add zucchini and lime juice. Add the zucchini to the citrus and toss to coat. Drizzle the lime juice over the top and toss again. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Marinade. Place the bowls in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the juices to soak into the zucchini. If you wish, give everything a good toss every 10 minutes or so, but, if you get busy with something else, it’ll be okay.
Finish and serve. Top with pistachios and croutons before serving.
This is a pretty good, and different, way to eat zucchini. Now, we won’t suggest that you head on out and buy zucchini just for this salad, but, if a neighbor happens to place a bagful on your stoop in the middle of the night, well, this recipe might help. It does have a nice citrus flavor, sort of sweet-sour, but, as with most dishes that involve zucchini, the squash, itself, is just there. Oh, and, we really do recommend using pistachios; they add a nice creamy taste, though pecans would be a good substitute. Four stars.