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Pantry Basics

A Fresh Take on Zucchini
June 8, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Every week I’m greeted with sightings of old favorites making a comeback at the farmers’ market. Recently, I blinked and rubbed my eyes in surprise to see the first zucchini of the season. June has snuck up on me, though, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. I was eager to get home and use them up, so I shaved thin slices of those few deep green squash and simply tossed the strands in a lemony vinaigrette. I proceeded to do that all week long. Fearful my husband would grow bored with the salad I’d fallen for, I decided to mix things up with my second windfall of zucchini.

I stared at them for a few minutes, wondering what I could do to put a fresh spin on dinnertime. Then I remembered a citrusy, refreshing tuna tartare we’d had a few weeks before at a restaurant in Soho. I resolved to create a vegetarian version of tartare. I knew it would require a little more prep work, since the fine dice needed had to be done by hand, but that didn’t bother me. I find prepping vegetables rather therapeutic. Once the zucchini was chopped, the rest came together quickly, and now we have two new favorite ways to enjoy zucchini this summer. And yes, I’m already thinking of a third.

Zucchini Tartare
Serves 4

Freshly grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium (156 grams) green zucchini, diced into 1/8-inch cubes
8 very thin slices of baguette, toasted

  1. Add the zest, lemon juice, oil, cilantro, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper to a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk vigorously to combine. Add the zucchini and stir with a spoon until well mixed.
  3. Arrange the zucchini tartar in the center of a serving dish and garnish with the toasted bread to serve.

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