"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day..."
As part of my Salad as a Meal challenge, I said I’d be posting a few selected recipes from Patricia’s book, along with step by step pictures and commentary [in bracketed red font] on how I created the dish from my kitchen. Just a reminder to folks that since I usually eat out and rarely use my kitchen (but am trying to change that!), my cooking skills/tools are limited -- so please excuse my urban jungle self when I make substitutions! So without further ado, may I present…
Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachios, and Pistachio Oil
2 SERVINGS [cookbook gives instructions for 4 servings, so I basically halved everything]
EQUIPMENT: A SMALL JAR WITH A LID [ironically, a small jar seems like a simple everyday item, but after searching far and wide in my kitchen, I could not come up with this, so I used Tupperware]; A MANDOLINE OR A VERY SHARP CHEF’S KNIFE. [oops....all I had was a slightly dull knife I got from a street corner in Chinatown]
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice [ermmm...I used True Lemon]
1/8 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt [this is basically lemon + kosher sea salt]
1 1/2 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil [I used olive oil, as the slack-jawed supermarket attendant looked at a loss when I asked if they sold pistachio oil]
2 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1/2 large ripe avocado
1/4 cup salted pistachios [I don't know how this happened, but I tossed peanuts instead of pistachios into my shopping cart (maybe cause they're both "P"- nuts?)-- owell, must run with the punches!]
4 fresh lemon thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible [hahaha....pretty certain a supermarket without pistachio oil isn't going to carry thyme sprigs, flowered or deflowered]
Fleur de sel [see thyme sprigs comment]
1. In the jar, combine the lemon juice and flavored salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend. [The picture of this concoction in the Tupperware container was trollish and un-blogworthy -- so I poured my mixture into a martini glass for aesthetic sense]
[My slightly dull knife, which turned out to be really dull, made this task quite difficult. Note to self" must invest in a nice sharp knife for future projects]. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
[Very difficult - avocados are slippery animals!] Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts [or peanuts, for those who confuse their nuts!] . Garnish with the thyme sprigs and flowers and fleur de sel. Serve.
[To be honest, I was a bit nervous this dish would taste terrible, given my lack of kitchen tools and generous substitution of stated recipe ingredients. But my tastebuds were surprised, for this was a very flavorful salad. The combination of the olive oil with the peanuts + the touch of tangy lemon was especially fantastic!]