Zucchini noodles a new twist in salad
I have a relatively small kitchen (not nearly the size of the one I use on my television show) and an aversion to clutter, so I tend to avoid collecting gadgets. That’s why I had held off buying a spiralizer — one of those slicers that cuts vegetables into noodle shapes.
Until now. After all, you can get a similar, ribbonlike effect using a vegetable peeler, and already- spiralized vegetables are sold in many grocery stores’ produce departments.
But I recently had the chance to try the gadget for myself, and, to my surprise, I was so tickled by it that I bought my own. In the accompanying recipe, the noodling of the vegetable gives what could seem like a very grown-up salad a welcome dose of fun.
While the zucchini is served uncooked, it doesn’t taste raw because it is transformed by a sprinkle of salt and a half hour to drain in a colander, which concentrate its flavor and soften it to the texture of al dente pasta. Dressed with lemon and olive oil, this base for the salad can be made a day in advance.
When you are ready to eat, you just toss the zucchini noodles with basil ribbons, and serve topped with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a sprinkle of buttery pine nuts. The result is a salad that is lip-smackingly delicious and fresh in taste and style.
Zucchini Noodle Salad
3 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), spiralized for about 7 cups zucchini noodles
¼ teaspoon salt, or more as needed
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1 ounce shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (from a block, using a vegetable peeler)
Ground black pepper
Cut any very long zucchini noodles so they are about the length of a strand of spaghetti. Place the zucchini in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. Toss with the salt and let sit to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel then transfer the zucchini to a bowl. Toss with the oil and lemon juice. (Salad can be prepared a day ahead to this stage.)
Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to avoid scorching. Let cool completely before serving or storing.
When ready to serve, toss the basil ribbons with the zucchini. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.
Divide among individual serving plates, then top each with parmesan shavings, pine nuts and ground pepper. Makes 4 servings. Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 130 calories, 5 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate (4 g sugar), 10 g fat, no mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: ½.