Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grilled Zucchini with Red Wine Vinaigrette

I have been sitting on this recipe for a few days now.  Not because it wasn't good (it was) or even because I was so busy that I didn't have time to post it (I did have time).  I just got lazy.  And then I forgot all about it.  Oops.  Luckily it occurred to me this afternoon that I hadn't posted this recipe yet.  So here I am.  Grilled zucchini is always a wonderful side dish.  I love when grilled zucchini and squash are lightly tossed with some sort of olive oil-based vinaigrette and served on the side.  Unfortunately, we don't a grill in NYC.  So I have to make do with my grill pan, which actually works pretty well (smoky apartment notwithstanding), although you miss out on that nice smoky grilled flavor that the grill imparts.  Oh well.

This salad was a last minute addition to our dinner.  I had meant to make an heirloom tomato salad, but it turned out that my tomatoes were bad.  Actually, if we are being truly honest, I dropped the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes on the ground on my way home from the farmer's market.  And they exploded.  Ka-boom.  No more heirloom tomato salad for me.  So I rummaged through the fridge and came up with some zucchini that I had originally bought to make another batch of zucchini bread.  And after a few seconds of staring aimlessly at the zucchini, this salad was born.  This is a rather acidic vinaigrette, so if you like your vinaigrettes a little smoother, you are going to want to cut down on the amount of red wine vinegar and adjust the ratio of evoo to vinegar.  The dish we were eating this with was rather rich, so I wanted something bright and acidic to cut through that richness.  I think this salad would have benefitted from the addition of some crumbled goat cheese, or something to give the salad a little creaminess, and to provide a little textural contrast.  Perhaps a ricotta salata would have worked.  Unfortunately, I was out of both.  I also would have loved a hint of fresh basil, oregano or chives to give the dish a little something extra.  But we didn't have any of those either.  Also, if I had more time I would have made a marinade that was less acidic and allowed the zucchini to marinate for an hour to gently soak up more flavor.  But we were only 10 minutes away from eating when I conceived of this dish.  Considering our fridge was fairly empty and I had to pull this salad out of nowhere in 10 minutes, I think I did pretty well!

Recipe after the jump!

Grilled Zucchini with Red Wine Vinaigrette 

2 medium/large zucchini, shaved into thin ribbons with a mandoline
1 tbsp evoo
3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (if you have fresh basil, oregano, or chives you could do a 1/4 cup combination of fresh herbs and that would be lovely)

3 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp evoo

Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Brush zucchini slices with evoo and sprinkle with s&p.  Grill zucchini slices until slices have grill marks and are soft and pliable, flipping once, about 2 minutes total.  Remove zucchini from grill and add to a nonreactive mixing bowl.  Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.  After zucchini has cooled a little, add parsley and walnuts.

In a small mixing bowl, combine red wine vinegar and garlic.  Slowly stream in evoo while whisking.  Season to taste with s&p.  Pour vinaigrette over zucchini mizture, tossing to combine.

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