Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Niçoise Olives, Mint and Ricotta Salata

Labour Day is upon us which means the kids are heading back to school, it is time to pull out the sweaters, maybe take a walk through an apple orchard and anticipate the season of stews and roasts…

It feels so strange this year with Max already back at school for two weeks, not an apple orchard in sight and the two sweaters I brought are hanging in the closet where they will stay for the unforeseeable future. I have always loved the changing of the seasons and felt an intense pang of homesickness this past Friday. I was missing my family and friends, missing walking my dear old dog, hosting dinner parties, watching the leaves as they start to change red, yellow and orange.

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But then the weekend came and Max, Glen and I spent a magical three days together in beautiful, light-filled, South Beach. We stayed in our pyjamas well past 10 am, we ate almond croissants and drank good coffee. We built Lego sets and read books and the Sunday New York Times, took naps and rode bikes, looked at beautiful art deco architecture and spent a day at the beach swimming in the ocean and drinking mojitos on lovely, umbrella shaded, lounge chairs.  We took walks in the balmy evening air and swam in the pool and ate out every night. My homesickness evaporated and I fell a lot more in love with this city.

And I also realized that, regardless of my romantic notions, Vancouver too is still firmly rooted in summer and the apples and pumpkins and mushrooms are a ways off yet. An Indian summer is being forcast and so it is still very much the season of corn, tomatoes, peaches and zucchinis. Just like here.

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I always love the early summer zucchini blossoms filled with couscous and feta or tempura battered with a side of tomato jam. But anyone with zucchini plants knows that by late summer they are so prolific that even a few plants may produce such large yields that it may become necessary to bag up the many leftovers (often the size of baseball bats) and start dropping them off, in the dead of night, on the front porches of friends, family and neighbours. However, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some smallish zucchinis and happen to have a bit of mint growing in your garden or in a pot on your windowsill then you are half-way there to enjoying this cool, light, salty, tangy salad.

This is great for a light lunch on its own but also pairs beautifully alongside grilled chicken or salmon dressed up with a bit of salsa verde. It is especially pretty if you are able to find both yellow and green zucchini and it travels fairly well so is perfect for a late summer potluck or picnic. It sure beats the ubiquitous zucchini bread/cake/muffins and depending on your mindset this dish may make you long for home or appreciate exactly where you are.

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4 Responses to Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Niçoise Olives, Mint and Ricotta Salata

  1. gail monteen bourne says:

    Reads like two “different” worlds…both are amazing..Hard to give up the familiar…but trying something new is so much fun. Remember to “E” and “E”. Thanks for another wonderful reciepe. Have a great week.

  2. Lisa says:

    Zucchini is almost like pasta when raw and in ribbons! I love pasta, but I love this take on kind of a pasta “light”. Here’s to sweaters staying in closets. Vancouver is forecasting nothing but hot hot heat all week.

  3. Sheryl says:

    More deliciousness to add to my gluten free repertoire! Jenny thinks she hates the lovely zucchini, but I believe that is a hangover from bad British cooking – she has “hated” many a veggie until your recipes! Kind of ironic for a vegetarian…

  4. Goes great with an “Indian Summer”… no heat from the stovetop!


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