I used to want to be on Food 911 on the Food Network, basically just so that Tyler Florence would come and hang out with me in my kitchen. Pretty adorable and he can cook--it works for me! Since I have been a bit behind from my "Cook from Every Book" plan to work my way through my cookbook collection, cooking at least one recipe from each book, I thought it was a good time to pull out Tyler Florence's; "Eat This Book". All about "cooking with global fresh flavors," there are several recipes I had tagged in this cookbook. Since it was a pretty warm, slightly muggy day and the zucchini at my natural foods stores looked fresh and firm, I decided to make his Carpaccio of Raw Zucchini for a nice refreshing lunch.
I looked on Food Network to see if he had made it on one of his shows, (I vaguely remembered seeing him make it) and found he had done it twice. Once was on a Food 911 episode called "Lo Cal High Flavor" and that time he used shaved Parmesan cheese instead of the ricotta called for in the book. (You can see that one here) He also prepared it on a special called "All-Star Healthy Makeover" this time using the ricotta (That one is here). I decided to stick with the book and use the ricotta.
Carpaccio of Raw Zucchini
Eat This Book, Tyler Florence
30 minutes / Serves 4-6
2 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds total), sliced into paper thin rounds
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as chervil, dill, chives and chive blossoms
1 young leek, white part only, sliced paper thin
1 cup ricotta cheese
fresh mint leaves for garnish
Shingle the zucchini slices into a single overlapping layer on a platter. Dust with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a 3-count of olive oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the herbs. Now scatter the leek over. Put that in the fridge for about 10 minutes to give the flavors a chance to get into the zucchini. Then garnish with the ricotta cheese and mint leaves.
Notes: I halved the recipe and ended up only using part of the zucchini on a medium serving plate. I used my "chop box", a poor woman's mandoline that I have had for years, on the zucchini and leek. (One day I will buy a mandoline but I am sure I will lose fingers or maybe a limb when I do get one as I manage to cut myself on any kitchen tool with a sharp point or edge). Tyler says: "The secret to this dish is that the zucchini be as thin as possible so that the squash takes up the flavor of the lemon and herbs." I used the fresh herbs I had available which included dill, flat leaf parsley and a little fresh tarragon. Since the mint leaves I had were so large, I chopped them as well.
Results: Why have I not made this before?! I loved it--the combo of the olive oil, lemon and herbs is wonderful on the zucchini. It is easy, great for a hot day or evening and would be an elegant presentation for a party. I ate it for lunch and will probably make it again and eat it tomorrow with the other half the zucchini I didn't use today. It would have been perfect if Tyler was there to make it for me but oh well, close enough!
Hope you are having a great Labor Day Weekend!