Apologies for posting late this month but I’ve been swamped finishing up my Rouxbe Plant-Based Certification Course. This past Saturday was particularly challenging as I cooked for 12 straight hours to complete the plant-based party assignment. I took a 15 minute break at one point so The Man could give me a massage. I felt like a boxer in his corner after a couple of tough rounds! Later that day, Thomas, Hanin and Norah very kindly came over to help taste the little vegan party bites coming out of the kitchen. I’m pleased to report that everything was delicious. I may even post some of the recipes on the blog. I got 100% on my assignment and have since graduated from the program – woohoo!
The last 6 months have completely revolutionized my cooking and I’m so thrilled to have taken this course. It was a ton of work but so incredibly rewarding. Everything I’ve learned will help me cook healthy meals for family and friends which is, as far as I’m concerned, absolutely priceless. To celebrate my graduation I’d like to share a recipe I did for the course: zucchini carpaccio with a black olive dressing and toasted pine nuts. I was inspired by the zucchini carpaccio that mom has been regaling us with for years and changed it up a bit to meet the requirements of a particular assignment. The result was absolutely delicious and so simple to make. The presentation kicks it up a notch and makes this dish a perfect light and healthy starter for entertaining. I’m super excited to bring this dish to share with all the talented bloggers taking part in Fiesta Friday #80! Note: For best results you really should use a mandolin to slide the zucchini. If you don’t have one you can use a peeler to make thin zucchini strips. You probably won’t be able to plate it like I did but it will be just as delicious. Makes 4-6 servings
Carpaccio / salad
- 3 zucchini / courgettes sliced very very thin
- About 6 cups salad (baby leaf / spring mix works well, small leaves are best)
- 6 cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts toasted
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp black olive paste (Mom, I bet you can get some fabulous stuff in Milos)
- 1 small green onion finely chopped
- 1 big handful fresh basil finely chopped
- A good pinch of ground chili flakes
- Fresh ground pepper
Start by making the dressing. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and olive paste. Taste and adjust if needed (Want more acidity? Add some lemon juice. Not salty enough? Toss in a little more olive paste.). Then add the green onion, basil, chili flakes and fresh ground pepper and whisk well. Set aside. Take your zucchini slices and layer them lengthwise on a cutting board, each time leaving about an inch visible from the slice before. Keep going until you’ve got a “sheet” of layered zucchini (it will probably take about 12-15 slices). You have two options at this stage: 1) delicately move the sheet onto a plate and keep the square shape, or 2) using a round guide (I used a small pot lid) and a very sharp knife, trace around the edges of the round guide and cut the sheet into a circle. Delicately move the round zucchini sheet onto a plate and reserve the scraps for another use (I chopped mine up and threw it into a salad the following day). Put your zucchini carpaccio aside. When you are ready to serve, put the salad in a bowl, add the dressing (start with 6 tbsp) and toss well. Add more dressing if required and toss again. It’s better to start with less dressing and add as you go than to use too much and end up with sad, limp, weighed down salad. Gently plop a big handful of salad at the center of each plated zucchini carpaccio. I find using my hands is the easiest since I can be more precise and manage to obtain better volume (which looks pretty!). Add a cherry tomato and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Drizzle extra dressing around the zucchini carpaccio. Finish with a dash of sea salt and one last grind of black pepper. Serve immediately. Bon appétit!