Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thai Zucchini-Noodle Salad

Though I would probably eat cardboard if you doused it in ginger-garlic-peanut-coconut dressing, zucchini is much, much better.  Healthier than pasta, and if you have this fancy tool called a spiralizer, which I had never heard of until yesterday, no one will even be able to tell that it isn't pasta!  Grating the squash works just fine, too.

Note: though the recipe doesn't say this, I would suspect it might be worthwhile to drain some liquid out of the zucchini before dressing it, so I have included instructions for that below.  Zucchini is an incredibly watery vegetable, and I use this technique pretty much every time I cook zucchini, regardless of the dish.  It doesn't take long, and you can kiss sodden squash goodbye!

A summer squash mandala!

adapted from and Lorry Perry

serves 4

3 large zucchini
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (red or orange would be especially pretty)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
kosher salt
1 hot pepper, minced (remove seeds and membranes for less heat)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tbs ginger, peeled and finely minced or grated
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs peanut butter
1 Tbs sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut milk

Trim ends and grate zucchini, or run them through a spiralizer.  Place in a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (this makes the squash release its water; almost all the salt will go down the drain with the liquid).  Set aside for a few minutes while you slice the onion and pepper.

Drain zucchini in a colander, and use a wooden spoon to press the shreds against the sides of the colander to squeeze out more liquid.  When you've pressed it out a bit, return it to its bowl and add the sliced onion and pepper.

For the dressing, combine the hot pepper, garlic cloves, ginger, green onions, vinegar, soy, peanut butter, sesame oil and coconut milk in the jar of a blender. Blend on high until you have a smooth dressing.  (Alternatively, you can vigorously whisk the dressing ingredients together.)

Toss the zucchini noodles with just enough of the dressing to coat them well (you may have dressing left over, which is not a bad thing).  Season to taste with kosher salt, then add almonds, sesame seeds and cilantro, and toss gently.  Serve immediately.

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