Recently I used a birthday gift card I received to purchase a cookbook I had my eye on for a while: “Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl Of Love”. Amazing cookbook… and this Cucumber And Zucchini Carpaccio Salad is the FIRST recipe I tried. Absolutely gorgeous and DELICIOUS!
I thought the salad looked fantastic, but I was curious what a “Carpaccio” salad was. Turns out the word Carpaccio (according to Wikipedia) originally referred to a dish utilizing extremely thin slices of raw meat, layered with white truffles or Parmesan cheese. The dish was named after a Venetian painter named Vittore Carpaccio, who was well known for his paintings which prominently featured red and white tones. (see where red meat and white truffles play a part?). Nowadays the term “carpaccio” can be used for any dish made with thinly sliced raw meat, fish or vegetables. THIS salad uses fresh cucumbers and zucchini. No raw meat for me!
This salad was absolutely fantastic! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the dressing (which features fresh dill, flat leaf parsley, and mint), and the addition of feta cheese, and toasted pecans make this a unique looking and delicious, crunchy salad!!! Plus, it’s so easy to prepare, especially if you have an abundance of garden veggies and herbs! Here’s how you make this gorgeous salad…
I very thinly sliced one large cucumber and one zucchini of equal size (I picked both from my garden-yeehaw!). I used a mandolin to thinly slice the veggies, which made it very easy. However, if you are slicing the cucumbers and zucchini by hand, make sure you get the slices as thin as possible. Here are the cucumber slices, so you can see the “thin-ness”..
Here is my trusty mandolin (a gift from our oldest son), slicing the zucchini thinly.
Here are the finished cucumber and zucchini slices (peel is left ON).
I began in the center of a serving plate, and alternately arranged the slices (one cucumber, one zucchini, etc.), working outward around the circle.
One zucchini, one cucumber, and so on, until all the veggies were distributed and it looked like this:
Looks good already, doesn’t it? I think so! The next thing I did was to quickly mix up the dressing, which includes, olive oil, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, fresh mint, flat leaf parsley and dill (herbs also were from our garden… nice).
I toasted chopped pecans in a skillet (no oil… just heat on medium-low for 3-4 minutes, keeping them stirred, until lightly toasted).
I mixed up the dressing really well, then drizzled it over the top of the veggies, trying to cover them all. I sprinkled the top of the salad with crumbled feta cheese, toasted pecans, and some cracked black pepper. I also added a few small mint leaves and dill for garnish,and a small red pear tomato (cut in quarters almost to bottom) from our garden, and that was it! If you want to make this up early, arrange the cucumbers and zucchini on plate, cover and refrigerate. Right before serving, add the dressing, feta, pecans and black pepper. This is what it looked like at serving time! Pretty, huh?
The salad is amazing! The dressing is fresh, and the fresh herbs shine through, to make this such a wonderful, tasty, and beautiful salad. Here… I saved a bite for you! (You’re welcome).
I will most definitely be making this salad again! Sure hope you will give it a try, also!
Recipe Source: “Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl Of Love”, page 54, copyright 2011, by Cristina Ferrare., Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- 2 zucchini , sliced very thin
- 2 cucumbers , sliced very thin
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup feta cheese , crumbled
- 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pecans (or walnuts)
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, mint, dill and parsley together until well combined. Set salad dressing aside (or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if making ahead).
- To make the salad, very thinly slice the cucumbers and zucchini. Arrange the veggie slices on a large serving plate, by alternating cucumbers and zucchini. Work from the inside of the plate around the circle to the outside, filling the entire plate. Once the veggies are arranged, sprinkle lightly with salt. NOTE: If you are making this salad ahead of serving time, wrap the veggie plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate at this point. Add the rest (salad dressing, feta, pecans, etc. at serving time).
- When ready to serve, drizzle the salad dressing over the entire salad, trying to cover all the veggies lightly.
- Add the crumbled feta cheese, distributing over the top of the salad. Do the same with the toasted pecans (or walnuts), then finish with cracked black pepper.
- If desired, garnish salad with additional mint leaves or dill sprigs. I added a small red pear tomato (cut into quarters, sliced from top to bottom). Serve, and enjoy!!!