This salad was supposed to be a cake. I mean, I meant for today’s post to be a honey-sweetened, berry-studded, lemon-infused cake. I thought my second attempt at the cake would be just right, but I ran out of eggs and tried to get away with two instead of three. This is what happened. On the upside, I have an excuse to eat cake for breakfast over the next week. I can’t decide which I love more: cake for breakfast, or breakfast for dinner?
Instead of cake, I decided to share a delightful summer salad today. The salad features ribboned squash tossed with feta, pine nuts and a lemon vinaigrette. It’s refreshing and crisp, a perfect side for a light summer meal. I think it would go great with a light pasta dish or grilled fish and a glass of chilled white wine. If you haven’t tried raw squash, I hope you’ll get out your vegetable peeler and give it a try. It’s my favorite way to eat squash.
This recipe comes from a new cookbook called Small Gatherings, which I received from the publisher. It’s filled with fresh, inspired menus for seasonal entertaining. I don’t have a proper dining area so I don’t entertain often, but I’d like to someday. The menus are built around meaty main courses, but the meals are very produce focused as a whole. The photos are lovely, too, so I thought the book deserved a proper mention.
Side note, did you know that citrus-based vinaigrettes are sometimes called citronettes? Now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense because the word vinaigrette implies vinegar. Citronette is the most adorable word I’ve come across in a long time. It makes me think of dancing cartoon clementines.
- ¼ cup pine nuts (or slivered almonds or sunflower seeds)
- 2 pounds mixed baby zucchini and yellow squash
- ½ to 1 cup quality feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint (or tarragon)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Use a vegetable peeler to shave the squashes into paper-thin ribbons, starting on one side and making quarter turns until you reach the seedy core. Spread the ribbons on a cutting board, sprinkle liberally with salt, and let them sit for 20 minutes.
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the nuts until they are turning golden and fragrant, stirring frequently.
- Make the citronette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, thyme, mint and parsley. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is well blended. Set aside until you're ready to serve.
- Rinse the squash and gently pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Place in a serving bowl (if you are not serving the salad immediately, refrigerate the squash until later).
- Right before serving, whisk the citronette last time. Toss the squash with the feta, pine nuts and citronette. Serve immediately.
Storage suggestions: Leftover salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Change it up: Feel free to change up the fresh herbs; you'll need about one tablespoon chopped herbs in total.
Make it vegan: Omit the feta and make up for it with sliced kalamata olives or capers.
Make it nut free: Simply use sunflower seeds for the salad base instead of pine nuts.