zucchini and summer squash salad


squash salad

Ah yes, there are those foods that garner immediate food porn photos, the dramatic drooling and the obvious filling of one’s plate.  Then there is squash salad.  Recently, when planning an informal dinner party at the house, I told my husband that I would be making a squash salad.  Talk about a lukewarm response, followed by “…and?”.  That made me really want to try this and see if it could pass the party test.  I had a similar recipe from Tyler Florence (not personally…though, that would be SWEET)  which sounds a bit fancier – Zucchini Carpaccio.  I never made it because of how it sounds – blah.  This recipe came from Cooking Light, and intrigued me a little more – probably because of the ricotta salata and prosciutto.  Needless to say, it was a hit, and as a bonus, it’s a fairly guilt-free food.  My husband gave me the nod to add it to my index of party foods.  The following weekend, I bought the ingredients to make it at a friend’s BBQ.  But there I was again, in the kitchen, and when asked what I was making, I hesitated since it doesn’t grab your attention like other party favorites.  I went with the very formal name of “shaved summer squash with prosciutto crisps”.  Call it whatever you want, the plate will be empty sooner than THEY thought.

summer squash

shaved summer squash salad (adapted from Cooking Light)

1  medium zucchini
2  medium yellow squash
pinch of kosher salt
cracked black pepper
2  TB thinly sliced basil or mint
2  TB extra virgin olive oil
1  tsp. grated lemon rind
2  tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3  slices prosciutto, chopped
1/3  cup crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese

shaved summer squash

pile of squash

get started on the salad:

With a good vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini and squash into strips.  Discard the strips from the center that have a lot of seeds, if you wish (compost!).  Place zucchini and squash in a medium bowl and toss with salt and pepper.  Combine basil, olive oil, lemon rind and juice and stir with a whisk.  Pour over zucchini and squash and toss to coat.  Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add prosciutto and sauté for 2 minutes, or until crisp.  Place salad on a platter and top with crumbled ricotta salata and prosciutto crisps.  Add additional olive oil or lemon juice to your liking!

prosciuttocooked prosciutto

note:  this feeds about six as a family style appetizer.  As a salad, it would feed four people.

summer squash salad

bacon-wrapped potatoes


bacon wrapped potatoes

I am tired of french fries.  I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but it’s true, and it’s because of baseball.   Soccer you aren’t even given bleachers, let alone  a place to buy a snack.  You endured the game with whatever you felt like packing, if anything at all.  Now that the kids are older and play organized baseball and softball, it seems that every town we play in, including our own, has the much beloved snack shack.  What used to be an occasional treat has now become a nightly offering that I have to fend off.  Fries, soft pretzels, slushies, soda and Big League Chew are being requested  left and right, and there isn’t much I can do but give in to the madness.  I have done everything I can think of to fend off the greasy magnetism of that shack but I keep losing.  I pack fruit, nuts, Goldfish but fries seem to make it into the mix anyway.  I have fed the kids dinner at 4pm, but by the start of the game at six, the one that isn’t playing is asking for skittles or fries.  Then after the game is over, the one who played thinks they deserve an ice cream or yet again – fries.  And to top it off, there is nothing worse than stealing one of your kid’s fries and it turns out to be a lukewarm, soggy mess.  I mean, if you are going to indulge, it better be worth it, right?
So in honor of the potato, I felt like doing it justice this past weekend.  We had family and friends over and were grilling steaks, and although I have a “go to” recipe for crispy oven-roasted potatoes, I saw this one and knew that the bacon would be a hit with everyone.   So I put my girlfriend to work wrapping them up, and by the looks of the empty bowl at the end of dinner, I’d say that I became a potato fan again – we all did.

bacon-wrapped potatoes (adapted from Southern Living)

non-stick cooking spray
6  medium-size red or golden potatoes, cut into eight wedges each
kosher salt
24  slices of bacon, cut in half
ground black pepper

bacon

get started on the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 425.  Coat a jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle potato wedges with kosher salt.  Wrap each potato wedge with the halved slice of bacon.  Arrange potato wedges in a single layer on the cooking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 40 – 45 minutes or until bacon is crisp and browned.

girlfriend at work

potato in bacon

note:  this serves 6-8 people.

soppressata radicchio rolls


soppressata appetizer platter

Ok, so my man still likes his antipasto.  Then again, so do I.  When my husband and I were dating, he was responsible for food on game day (insert sport), and so in turn, we had a loaf of italian bread from the oven, a brick of provolone, some sliced meats I had never heard of (it took time to pronounce prosciutto), beer, and a squeeze bottle of hot deli mustard (ok, so and I had another bottle, but that was something different…to drink…)  To be honest, nothing much has changed – except I mainly run the kitchen now.  I have tried over the years to lighten up the feast  (except for the Dallas games, which I turn a blind eye to and make whatever he wants), but for other entertaining, I seemed to have found the middle ground for meat eaters and those who would rather try not to devour 2500 calories in 3 hours.  This recipe is one of those that bridge the gap.  I love the fact that I found this recipe in the sidebar of a magazine.  I guess it caught my eye because of its simplicity, in addition to the fact that there was soppressata rolled….that made me interested.  If you know me, I like finger food, and not just a bowl of chips and salsa (which I can devour!).  I enjoy putting something out, even if it is just for my husband and me, because that is what cooking is about….having fun…taking pride…and having it taste delicious.  So on certain occasions, there is still a pile of meat put out as an appetizer, but at least it is rolled around radicchio!

soppressata radicchio rolls (adapted from Food & Wine)

24  mild soppressata slices
1 nice sized radicchio head, shredded
10  pepperoncini, chopped
2  oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1  tsp. red wine vinegar
1  tsp. extra virgin olive oil
TB pine nuts, toasted
kosher salt and ground black pepper

soppressataradicchio salad

get started on the rolls:

In a bowl, combine the shredded raddicchio, pepperoncini, goat cheese, vinegar and olive oil.  In a small cast iron skillet, toast the pine nuts for a few minutes, shaking occasionally so as not to burn.  Add to bowl and combine with radicchio mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

soppressatapepperoncini

Arrange the slices of soppressata on a work surface and mound about a tablespoon or so of the radicchio mixture on each piece.  Roll up the soppressata around the salad to form a cone.

rolls of soppressata

note:  to make this meatless, I served a portion of the radicchio salad in a bowl and served with crostini.  Just check that the salad is dressed enough to adhere to the crostini.  Also, I made this once with sliced almonds – untoasted, because I didn’t have pine nuts.

rolls with bowl

rolls with cheese plate