Grilled Zucchini Salad with “Pizza Walnuts”

Grilled Zucchini Salad with “Pizza Walnuts”

Long, elegantly thin slices of summery zucchini marinate in the garlicky dressing to make a simple and delicious salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus a little extra for the zucchini and the walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinches of dried thyme and oregano
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 pound zucchini (about 5 small ones), halved, and cut into thin, 1/8-inch slices lengthwise
  • 20 California walnut halves, raw or lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan

Optional Extras:

  • Very fresh, small, halved cherry tomatoes
  • High-end extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling on top
  • Springs of fresh marjoram, thyme, oregano
  • Small cubes of feta or crumbled goat cheese
  • Fresh, sweet corn – shaved from the cobs
  • Dab of very fresh high-quality ricotta

Directions

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, shallot, garlic, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, sugar, pinch each of dried thyme and oregano, and a few shakes of black pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk to blend, and set aside.
  2. Set a ridged grill pan over medium heat, and brush it lightly with olive oil. Place the zucchini slices on the hot surface in a single layer, and cook on both sides until just tender and decorated with golden grill marks. Transfer the cooked zucchini directly to the marinade. You might need to do this in a couple of shifts.
  3. Let the zucchini rest in the marinade to absorb the flavors – about a minimum of 30 minutes. Longer is also fine.
  4. Combine the Parmesan with pinches of dried thyme and oregano in a small bowl. Line a toaster oven tray with foil, and brush it lightly with olive oil. Place the walnut halves on the tray, with their more concave sides facing up. With a tiny spoon (if you have one) sprinkle the walnuts lightly with the cheese-herb mixture. There should be enough of it to just cover 20 walnut halves. Place the tray in the toaster oven on the “broil” setting, and leave it in there until the cheese melts slightly and the tops are light golden. This will only take a minute or two. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn! Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. Serve the zucchini at room temperature or cold, topped with the walnuts, and a scattering of any or all of the Optional Extras.

*Nutritionals do not include the optional extras ingredients.