Nothing is more suited to simple, easy recipes than really great produce, such as the kind you might buy at your local farmer's market, or what you might receive in your CSA box. When you start with the best, farm-fresh produce, you need only start with salt and work from there. Last week on at least 4 occasions, I had fresh sweet peas, boiled 12 minutes, drained and drizzled with the tiniest bit of olive oil and sprinkled with salt. If you're used to eating horrid starchy peas, you wouldn't even believe how delicious sweet peas can be. All of that to say, there's no need for lots of fussing around. As this recipe shows, there isn't even always a need for the stove.
I love raw zucchini. I think it's totally under appreciated as a salad vegetable. It's sweet and mild, and retains a slight crunch. For this recipe, I like to use the fleshy part of the zucchini and leave the center, seedy part out - it's just too watery. But I wouldn't let that go to waste! That gets salted and eaten by the cook! Cook's treat! Of course, zucchini is very good for you, containing good amounts of manganese, vitamin C and potassium. As far as a mandoline goes, don't bother buying the $170 one at Williams-Sonoma, unless you are going to be doing a ton of slicing. I just bought this nice Japanese mandoline at Tensuke, for $30, and it's great for my use. If you are going to serve the salad immediately, you don't have to pre salt it; just keep in mind that the salad is going to give off water as it sits.
Zucchini & Feta Salad - serves 2
One medium zucchini, cut into ribbons with a mandoline, or cut into matchsticks with your fabulous knife skills
Good extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
Place the zucchini ribbons in a colander, set in the sink, and sprinkle lightly with salt; toss to coat. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes, just to draw out as much extra moisture as possible. Give it a shake and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle just a touch of olive oil over, crack some black pepper over, and top with feta. Serve. Yum!