Make Ahead

Patricia Wells' Zucchini Carpaccio With Avocado & Pistachios

September  8, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4 (as a meal)
Author Notes

When you just can't look another zucchini in the face, put it on a pedestal. Raw zucchini can be spongy, bitter and strangely sticky, so pamper it like Patricia Wells does here, by shaving it into delicate ribbons, then bathing them in a lemony marinade.

A trusted mandoline makes a big difference here -- and if you don't have one, you're better off opting for a vegetable peeler than a sharp knife. You want planks as thin as flower petals.

There will be leftover lemon salt. Swirl it into buttered pasta; dust it on blanched green beans; put a pinch on a dark chocolate cookie.

Adapted slightly from Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • Lemon Zest Salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • Salad
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios
  • Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
  • Fleur de sel
  1. Lemon Zest Salt
  2. Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid. (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that the lemon flavor will begin to fade.)
  1. Salad
  2. In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.
  3. With a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or very sharp chef's knife slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
  4. Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and fleur de sel. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kschurms
  • samanthaalison
  • Laura Griffiith
    Laura Griffiith
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • walkie74
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

18 Reviews

kschurms August 27, 2019
love the concept of this dish, but made a few adjustments. i used cucumber instead of zucchini and lime instead of lemon, but otherwise the same. it was so refreshing and delicious!
Christyv November 24, 2021
So you didn’t actually make the recipe.
Skiingstella July 28, 2015
Interesting recipe to try... However it didn't change my distaste for zucchini.
samanthaalison September 14, 2014
Sooo good. Next time I'd add a bit more of the lemon salt to the dressing, and bash the pistachios with my knife so they would be easier to eat, but there will absolutely be a next time - many of them.
Laura G. July 11, 2014
what a lovely clean food dish . Thank you.
cucina D. May 9, 2014
beautiful dish! Adding this to my food files and asking my family to make it for me on Mother's Day.
Janet P. December 24, 2013
Do the pistachio nuts have to be roasted first or are they supposed to be used in their raw state. Thanks.
Kristen M. December 24, 2013
The recipe calls for salted pistachios, which are usually pre-roasted. But you could also use raw pistachios, toasting them a little first to bring out their flavor and crunch. Hope you like it!
walkie74 August 22, 2013
My husband loves this recipe now. Looks like we have another family favorite!
TaoistCowgirl June 27, 2013
Also you can tweak it by making it into a terrine, layering the avocado and zucchini with the dressing and letting the whole thing marinate for 6-8 hours. Very yummy.
TaoistCowgirl June 27, 2013
Awesome recipe. Highly recommend you get the ingredients today and make this tonight!
Garden C. July 22, 2012
I tried this and I love it!!! Will certainly do this again and again and again... especially now that avocado is in season.
Garden C. July 22, 2012
I tried this recipe and I just love it! Will certainly do this again and again and again.... while avocado is still in season here in the Philippines!
hitpas April 24, 2012
Thank you for reminding me about this recipe. It is sensational.
the U. October 24, 2011
i love patricia wells and her recipes/food inspiration
Greenstuff October 17, 2011
An old technology plug! I wanted to make this over the weekend--it was the weekend of of the FOOD52 relaunch, and there was no way I could get the site to get me to the recipe. Then I remembered...I had Patricia Wells' book, Salad as a Meal right on the bookshelf. The recipe was right there, just minus the gorgeous Joseph De Leo photos.

Meal saved! And it really was delicious. Like Patricia Wells, I'm going to make this again and again.
dymnyno September 11, 2011
After being gone for 10days, I am sure my zucchini will be lined up and waiting for me,
familydinners September 8, 2011
This looks so good...can't wait to try it. I bet even the zucchini haters will love it!