It seems the entirety of Dupont Circle, DC has been engulfed by mulch, making everything smell like spring time and gardening despite the awkward and lingering 1 inch snow fall inhabiting the city for the past 36 hours. Spring is trying to arrive, to wrap us all up in its floral lust.
And so I’ve been going with it, putting my Dutch oven in the cupboard in exchange for the enticing prospect of fresh raw food and the brilliant aroma of charcoal. Sunday night was warm and Andrew and I ventured outside our kitchen into the great outdoors of his parent’s patio transfixed by the popping of the grill and the buzzing of every plant and bug valiantly attempting to wake up from the winter.
This salad is simple beyond simplicity, but gives the illusion of culinary genius. Even the faint of heart home cook can make this a reality. Salt and pepper are up to your discretion (though, use sparingly) and the good fats from the oils and nuts will fill you up and make your skin shiny. Feel free to substitute eggplant, peppers or any other sturdy vegetable for the zucchini, I just love its bright flavor. This salad is not substantial enough to be a meal, so chop up a ripe avocado or throw extra firm seasoned tofu on the grill as well for added protein.
Grilled Zucchini & Hazelnut Basil Salad [serves 4]
adapted from: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
.5 cups hazelnuts, raw and roughly chopped
8 small zucchini, sliced on angle, about .5 inches thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups basil leaves
1 teaspoons almond oil
Preheat grill or indoor ridged grilled pan on high heat for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile place zucchini in a bowl and toss with olive and salt and pepper to taste. Place the slices on the hot pan and char-grill for about 2 minutes on each side, making sure to get distinct char marks without burning. Transfer the grilled zucchini back into the mixing bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar.
Once the zucchini have cooled, add the hazelnuts, basil and almond oil. Toss and transfer to a flat plate to serve.
Nutritional Information (per serving)
167 Calories, 3.5 g Carbohydrates, 17 g Fat, 3 g Protein