zucchini carpaccio with raspberry vinegar

Salads are not blog worthy.  What could a person possibly say about lettuce, nuts, bits of fruit and meat, and dressing that hasn’t been said before (or is even worth mentioning, for that matter)?  And for goodness’ sake, who needs to follow a recipe to make a salad?!

That was the philosophy of pre-zucchini carpaccio Katie.  Post-zucchini carpaccio Katie is a totally different person — one who will wax poetic about the crispness of farm-fresh zucchini, the salty, creamy flavor of goat cheese, and the tangy sweetness of raspberry vinegar.  It’s the post-zucchini carpaccio Katie that is writing this entry,  and she is excited to share this recipe with you.

I came across this dish innocently enough, when I was searching for things to make on July 18th (i.e. the day of my birth).  Nate and I already had canapes and blackberry cheesecake ice cream on the list, and we needed something green and summery.  Flipping through Chocolate and Zucchini, I came across a recipe  that made me do a double-take: zucchini carpaccio?  How could something that wasn’t beef be described as carpaccio?  Turns out, Clotilde loves these sorts of recipe names that make you scratch your head a bit and force you to see things in a whole new light.  Beef carpaccio is thinly sliced raw beef.  Zucchini carpaccio is thinly sliced raw zucchini.  Get it?  Very clever.

You start by running 3 zucchini across a mandolin until you’re left with a heaping mound of delicate, green circles.  Layer these rounds in concentric circles on each person’s plate (this salad looks better when made in individual servings), then top them with crumbled goat cheese (3 oz in total).  Whisk together 2 tablespoons of raspberry vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil, and drizzle each dish with this dressing.  Finally, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon of dried thyme), and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste over your salad plates.  Let the flavors rest for 10 minutes or so at room temperature, then dazzle your friends with these pretty salads.

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