Dig In: Summer Squash Salad

Lemon, capers and cheese turn a bumper crop into a beautiful salad.
Zucchini Plant With Blossom and Fruit

Zucchini Plant With Blossom and Fruit

Zucchini plant with blossom and fruit.

Photo by: Shutterstock/romiri

Shutterstock/romiri

"If you have a vegetable peeler, a bowl and a dream, you can do this," chef Nathan Lyon says of his summer squash salad with lemon, capers and Parmesan cheese. A contestant on The Next Food Network Star, author of Great Food Starts Fresh—and a recent participant in the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival—Lyon offers a fresh perspective for those of us looking for better ways to treat our bumper crop. 

"Growing up, my only relationship with squash was baked within a squishy inch of its life and covered with a thick layer of oily cheese," he says. I wanted to elevate the flavor and texture of the squash rather than smothering it, so I developed a salad that's quick to prepare, beautiful on the plate and, most importantly, delicious!" 

Summer Squash Salad with Lemon, Capers and Pecorino Romano Cheese

From Great Food Starts Fresh by chef Nathan Lyon

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 small zucchini
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Using a mandoline or your vegetable peeler, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/16-inch thick slices lengthwise. The slices will resemble wide pasta noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the zucchini in a medium bowl.

Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture and add the capers. On a plate, loosely arrange some zucchini slices into a small pile, then spoon some of the caper vinaigrette over the top.

Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top with some shavings of cheese and some of the parsley.

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