When Jeff has to work overtime, I like to make the best of the situation by catching up on some writing, watching some junky TV ( like “Losing It with Jillian” and “Ruby”) and eating vegetables that Jeff wouldn’t touch with Andy Dick’s tongue.
This week’s lucky vegetables? Squash and zucchini! I ate two of each in two days via this Squash Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts, and the experience was squash-a-licious.
It’s good. Really good. And if you’re looking for a new summer side dish, this could be the one.
The “ribbons” of squash and zucchini look complicated, but all they require is a knife and a little patience. First, you boil the squash and zucchini for 90 seconds, let them cool until you can handle them, and slice them lengthwise – the thinner, the better. Since the squash is boiled for just a short time, it stays firm, so the ribbons have an almost pasta-like bite.
A mandoline is the tool of choice for quickly and consistently slicing these ribbons, but I don’t have a mandoline (for shame!), so I can testify that a sharp knife will do. (If you have trouble slicing through the entire length of the squash (or zucchini) and keeping the slices thin, cut the vegetables in half horizontally and then go lengthwise.)
While the ribbons cooled, I toasted the pine nuts in a skillet on the stove, whisked together the vinaigrette and chopped the basil and chives. Mint would be good, too.
Squash is much too mild to be known as a flavor powerhouse, but cutting it into ribbons gives this salad an addictive texture. Besides, you get plenty of flavor from the peppery vinaigrette, fresh herbs, tangy goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself stealing an extra bite or two before you put the salad away.
Jillian and Ruby would love it. Maybe even Andy Dick.
Squash Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
To toast the pine nuts, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat, and shake the skillet to ensure even browning. When the pine nuts are browned and you can smell them, they’re ready.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril at the Grill”
Makes 8 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds small zucchini
- 1 1/2 pounds small yellow squash
- 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup julienned fresh mint
- 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 6 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add zucchini and squash, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain. Set aside to cool.
- When the squash are cool enough to handle, slice them very thin lengthwise, using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Transfer the squash ribbons to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- When the squash has cooled completely, add the vinaigrette and herbs. Toss gently. Crumble the goat cheese over the top, and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Weight Watchers PP+ = 7