Summer Squash Carpaccio with Fennel, Basil, Mint and Shaved Pecorino

June 28, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is one of my favorite ways to have summer squash and a fun way to preserve all the fun shapes it comes in. Eaten raw, zucchini and its siblings have some crispness to them and great flavor. Tossed with some fresh herbs and thin shavings of fennel and pecorino in some champagne citrus vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil, and this becomes a very refreshing, healthy tasting side dish / salad that becomes the star of the meal. You can serve as a large salad in a bowl or as a little timbale as shown in the picture for the first course of a fancier dinner. The dressing does a great job of holding the zucchini pieces together. - ChezSuzanne —TheWimpyVegetarian

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one my favorite kind of salads. I served it laid out on a platter and everyone got a bite of all the elements, which make this salad fabulous. The freshness of the fennel, basil and mint combines so well with the saltiness of the pecorino and the tartness of the lemon. Super easy to fix and impressive to serve. I served it with grilled Lamb Chops, but this could go with a great deal of many things. It is a for sure crowd pleaser - MyCommunalTable —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 10 small summer squash of assorted shapes and colors
  • 3-4 additional zucchinis if you're making timbales
  • 1 small bulb of fennel
  • 1/2 cup of a mixture of fresh small basil and mint leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons citrus champagne vinegar
  • 8-10 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino shavings using a potato peeler
  1. Remove the ends of the squash. Using a mandoline, slice all the squash into thin slices, except the zucchini you may have reserved to make the timbales. To have a variety of shapes, I slice some into round discs and some long zucchini ribbons. Place in a bowl you will use to toss the entire salad.
  2. Using the mandoline, thinly slice an entire small bulb of fennel, or 1/2 of a large bulb. Place in the bowl with the squash.
  3. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the bowl. Add the mint and basil leaves.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk the olive oil into the champagne vinegar and add 1/2 - 2/3 of the dressing to the salad bowl and toss the vegetables in it. Salt and pepper lightly. Add the Pecorino shavings. Let sit for 30 minutes to meld the flavors.
  5. If you're making timbales, slice the additional zucchini squash into thin long ribbons and dip them into the remaining dressing. The best way I've found to make these timbales is with metal baking rings. I place a ring in the center of the salad plate and position the dressed zucchini slices around it, overlapping them as needed. Add additional dressing to the salad if needed and spoon the salad into the middle. Let sit for 2-4 minutes and gingerly lift the baking ring off. My timbales have lasted as long as an hour without a problem. The dressing does a great job of holding it all together.
  6. For garnish, I add a small fennel frond so folks know there's also fennel in the salad.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jennifer Ann
    Jennifer Ann
  • AntoniaJames
  • dymnyno
  • monkeymom
  • lapadia

10 Reviews

Jennifer A. July 1, 2010
Yum! I am going to begin the hunt for citrus champagne vinegar.
Thanks! I got mine at Whole Foods, if that helps. For some options if you can't find it, you can use all lemon juice or just more lemon juice and a smaller amount of plain champagne vinegar. Good luck with it!
AntoniaJames June 29, 2010
Love it! So bright and beautiful, and the dressing sounds perfect. Definitely will put this one in the queue. You rock, ChezSuzanne!! ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian June 29, 2010
Thanks AJ!! Just trying to keep up with you!
dymnyno June 29, 2010
Sweet and Simple!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 29, 2010
Thanks dymnyno! You can add other herbs or small leaf greens too. Last night, at the last minute (after I took the photo and posted this) I decided to throw in pea shoot leaves. Their tart peppery flavor added a nice foil to everything else! Arugula would work too I imagine.
monkeymom June 29, 2010
So beautiful!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 29, 2010
Thanks! Such a summer-y thing to have right now.
lapadia June 28, 2010
Love it!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 29, 2010
Thanks lapadia - I plan to try your zucchini moz boats tonight with my leftover zucchini!