Zuc­chini noo­dles a new twist in salad

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - EL­LIE KRIEGER

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.

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