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