Pg. 72 New Zucch.

Photo by Donna, from Live to Cook

Yes, you can fry zucchini as fritters and anything fried trumps anything raw, but try this simple salad of raw zucchini with almonds and you'll be amazed by the power of zucchini. Now, when Zucchini is plentiful and inexpensive, is the time to make it.

I first had this salad when we were working on Michael Symon's new book, Live To Cook. What's always impressed me about Michael's cooking is his ingenuity; he delivers powerful flavors and fun dishes with a minimum of fuss yet without sacrificing basic technique.

The key to this salad is pre-salting the zucchini. Cut it on the bias into 1/8th-inch slices, give it the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. The salt softens it to the point of wilting, but not so much that it's mushy. It retains a distinct bite and fresh zucchini flavor. It's important though not to salt it too early; eventually the zucchini will get mushy. I dress raw zucchini simply, squeezing lemon juice over it and a drizzle of olive oil. I usually combine it with almonds, a perfect flavor pairing and adds an important crunchy component. It's easy to improvise once you've discovered the zucchini's transformation by salt from bland to exquisite.

Below is Michael's recipe from his book (due out in a few weeks!), in which he adds garlic, shallot and dill. When he made the above dish we couldn't stop eating it; it was really satisfyingly filling, with great flavors and textures. I love to cook and spend hours in the kitchen, but this is a perfect example of how vivid fresh delicious dishes without compromise are every bit as good as the dishes that take a long time.

Michael Symon's Zucchini Crudo

2 zucchini (about ¾ pound), thinly sliced
2 yellow summer squash (about 1½ pounds), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 shallot, finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons, or to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh dill

Combine the zucchini and yellow squash in a colander in the sink and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt over it. Toss to coat, and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, no longer. In a large bowl, combine the garlic and shallot, sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream, then the almonds and dill. Taste for seasoning and acidity (it should be nicely acidic). Add the zucchini and squash to the dressing, toss, and serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


22 Wonderful responses to “Raw Zucchini Salad (Zucchini Crudo)”

  • Shannon

    You know what else works well for zucchini overload? Shred it on the smallest side of your box grater, squeeze out all the excess liquid and freeze it in smallish bags. Zucchini bread/muffins/etc all winter long! Unlike peppers and some other veg, the cellular structure doesn’t explode and get all mushy.

  • Wilma de Soto

    It’s great to have a new and delicious recipe for what I call, “The Stealth Bomber” of vegetables.
    Where DO they all come from?
    Instead of sneakily dropping a basket off on your neighbor’s doorstep, make them a nice salad idea like this and have THEM ask you for your extras.-Thanks!

  • Josie

    That sounds so delicious. I am now on a quest to find zucchini – the chilly weather around here as vaulted us past “End of Summer” and into “Beginning of The End”. 🙂

  • Natalie Sztern

    Anything with dill in a dressing form always makes me want to add seasoned rice vinegar for that just sweetened tarty flavor. What a great low glycemic salad to add with my turkey dinner tonite so off to the corner store…a perfect accompaniement and Happy Thanksgiving all you canadian readers.

  • lux

    Michael — for those of us who can’t eat almonds, what would you suggest as a substitute for the crunch component? Some daikon perhaps?

  • Christopher C. Hill

    Michael never ceases to impress… thank you…. I just started my own blog chjeck it out…. The Epicurean’s Dilema …

  • luis

    Beautiful, Michael, Bravo to you and Symon. This is were I want to be. Enjoying this salad and this type of simple wholesome cuisine.
    It is a paradign shift for most baby boomers. To enjoy the basic flavors of nature once again just as nature intended for us to do is the holy grail of health and wellness and fine dinning.

  • luis

    Okay, this salad reminds me of my misadventures in achieving sousvide (in my common home kitchen), which I totally think is tha bomb!.
    I have given up on it.. but now I am thinking of checking with folks at foodsaver regarding my vaccum sealing of foods and doing them quick in my Fagor pressure cooker. Only concern is the plastic bag…Other than that…? it’s worth a shot! I think?…what do you guys think?…

  • james skouras

    loved ratio–i’m on my second writing-every day i look foward to your pictures

  • john_v_phipps

    Sitting here in my “Live To Cook” pirate t-shirt, wondering… “Are we going to be able to order the new cookbook with autographs from both of you soon?” (or should I say all three of you? I am hoping that Donna did the photos).

    Well….. are we? When?

  • JoP in Omaha

    I’m so eager to get the Live to Cook book. I really want the opportunity to try Symon’s food, and this will do until I can make a trip to Cleveland.

    Is there a book tour in the works? I suspect not, but heck, I can hope.

    I’m also looking forward to Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook…hey, Amazon is already selling it. Awesome!

  • luanda

    A tiny bit more concise info on the amount of shallots? I saw bulbs/cloves/knobs(?)of shallots for 1 TBSP. all the way up to 1/2 cup capacity. And just what is the correct terminology for a section of shallots? Must be using “baby” zukes. I ended up getting 1 small zuke and 2 small squashes to achieve the weights mentioned. They were basically the same size. It’s going to be a very yellow salad. I suppose we can use a bit more of bright yellow for these overcast days.
    BTW…I second John V. on the triple autographed cookbooks. Is it possible to arrange that for a book signing? What fun!!!!

  • Wilma de Soto

    Matters not about autographed copies of “Live To Cook.” I shall purchase it regardless.
    My only hope is Mike Symon’s recipe for “Deep-Fried Brussell Sprouts” will be included.

  • ruhlman

    about the rinsing–yes, i’d thought of addressing that. If you used a ton of salt, yes. Much of the salt will have dripped off. But taste one of the zucchini; if it’s too salty, give it a quick rinse and pat dry.

    I’d use a quarter cup of shallots. Shallots lose their harshness when macerated in vinegar or lemon juice. I usually let them sit in the acid for a little while before dressing salad. and these were adult zukes, and delicious, though baby would be fine too.

    For those who don’t eat nuts, him, yes, daikon would work, so would celery, small croutons. Or crispy bacon!

    Thomas does have a tour planned, i’ll try to post somehow. Don’t know how we can have an organized way of getting many copies of books signed by me and the chefs. It would have to be more expensive, full price for the books. If you want to send me an email request for this, go ahead and i’ll put it in a folder, if i get enough i’ll see what i can do.

  • luis

    Michael your post brings back memories of my troubles with brinning. The one step I don’t think I did was to rinse the meats after the brinning to get rid of excess salt.
    Still salt remains the most dangerous and difficult to get right ingredient in my kitchen.

  • Jodi

    I love this idea. It reminds me a little of the simplicity and style of a Japanese Cucumber Salad. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Joel McNeely

    K, just made this for lunch. Zoinks, was that amazing! LOVED IT! The 3 lemons made too much liquid though. Next time I’ll do it by eye and taste. I had a fair amount of vinaigrette soup left over. And I used cilantro because I didn’t have mint. Yum.