With the onset of spring, you will see a bounty of small zucchini at the farmers markets and grocery stores. When they are young spring squash, they are tender and delicious raw. With this vibrant lemon vinaigrette and other gifts of spring such as verdant herbs and sweet cherub tomatoes, this tastes like spring itself!
2 pounds small zucchini, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn in half lengthwise if large
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
12 Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
1 pint Cherub tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
Special equipment: a Mandolin or other adjustable-blade slicer, (a peeler might work)
Cut zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbon-like (1/8-inch-thick) slices with slicer or peeler and transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle zucchini with salt and toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes, then rinse salt off of zucchini under cold running water. Transfer zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and spread in 1 layer, then gently roll up towel to absorb excess water and let stand 5 minutes more.
Whisk together oil, zest, juice, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
Add zucchini, herbs, olives, onion, tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve immediately.
Serves six as a side dish or salad