This summer, my friend Hannah and I have been on a quest to visit as many farmer’s markets in the Milwaukee area as possible. This is a fun project on many levels — it’s a great friend date, a nice way to explore my new home, and an errand in disguise since I get half of my grocery shopping done.
It’s hard to pass up a good farmer’s market zucchini. I find myself packing at least a half dozen green and yellow squash into my tote bag each week, with no regard to how I will prepare them — “that will come later,” I tell myself. Turns out that I’m not much more creative than cutting them in half and tossing them on the grill.
Then, the days of summer started getting hotter and more humid, and the thought of standing in front of a grill or turning on my oven seemed like a terrible plan. I’ve been making a lot of cucumber salads this summer, why not try the same with zucchini? After a quick marinade, the ribbons of raw zucchini soften and become super tender. Tossed with tangy lemon, toasty hazelnuts, and salty manchego, this is a side dish that comes together with minimal ingredients and effort.
- 4 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup whole hazelnuts
- 2-3 ounces manchego cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF
- Trim the ends of the zucchini, then use a mandolin (or a sharp knife and a lot of patience!) to slice them lengthwise, about ⅛” thick. Add them to a medium bowl along with the zest and juice of the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then cover and pop into the fridge for 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini has softened into pliable ribbons.
- While the zucchini is chilling in the fridge, place your hazelnuts on a small sheet tray, removing any excess papery skin. Toast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they are a deep golden color. Set a timer for this and check on them regularly — burnt hazelnuts are no fun. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes, then chop finely.
- Using a vegetable peeler, slice the manchego into thin ribbons. It’s okay if they’re not all perfectly in tact — this adds character!
- Drain any excess watery lemon juice from the bowl with the zucchini, and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Arrange the ribbons on a platter, then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and manchego over top.