Thanks to a soggy summer and its accompanying pests and diseases, we never really experienced the glut of zucchini and summer squash that usually arrives in August, leading to heights of creativity we rarely reach in the ordinary course of life (zucchini baseball, anyone?). As a result, I don't think anyone is as sick of squash as they might otherwise be. It's nice to find the silver lining to that challenging weather! Now that summer's almost over, here is an easy, delicious salad that pays tribute to summer, summer squash, and kitchen creativity.
SUMMER SQUASH RIBBONS WITH ALMOND PESTO
from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and cooled (raw is also fine if you prefer)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 lbs medium summer squash or zucchini, preferably long and thin
Prepare the pesto:
Grind the almonds, Parmesan, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and pulse the machine a few times, until combined. Pour the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl, and let it roll up and around the sides.
Prepare the squash:
Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, working from the top to bottom of each squash, slice the squash into ribbons (about 1/16-inch thick). Place the ribbons in the dressing-coated bowl.
Assemble the salad:
Toss the ribbons gently -- frankly, your hands are best for this as they won't break up the ribbons while tossing them -- attempting to coat the squash as evenly as possible with the dressing. Serve at room temperature. This salad can sit out for awhile (the longer it sits, the more relaxed the ribbons will get), but if you eat it right away the ribbons make beautiful tall loops and twists in the bowl!