Backyard BBQ

Smacked Zucchini Salad With Chile Oil & Black Vinegar

June 13, 2019
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

I have yet to meet a smacked cucumber salad I don’t like, whether it’s at my after-work go-to, Xi’an Famous Foods, or in my own kitchen. This smart technique—prevalent in many parts of Asia—is all about flavor. While sliced cucumbers reluctantly absorb dressing, smacked ones drink it right up. Here, I took the same template but swapped in summery zucchini for the cucumbers. While most raw zucchini recipes call for the vegetable to be sliced as thinly as possible—say, on a mandoline—in this case, a rolling pin takes care of most of the work. It’s the perfect method to introduce a big-personality dressing, with soy sauce, chile oil, black vinegar, and a smidge of sugar and garlic. And it’s pretty fun, too. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chile crisp (or chile oil with its sediment)
  • 2 teaspoons black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, Microplaned or minced
  • 2 zucchinis (totaling at about 12 ounces)
  • 1 pinch kosher or flaky salt (if needed)
  1. Combine the soy sauce, chile crisp, black vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.
  2. Lay the zucchinis on a cutting board and smack with a rolling pin until they split, like a dropped watermelon at the grocery store. Now chop the smacked zucchinis into bite-size pieces with a knife. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and toss.
  3. Taste and adjust as needed. Maybe you want the salt, or not. Maybe you want more soy sauce, or chile crisp, or vinegar, or sugar, or garlic. Adjust until it tastes very, very good to you. The longer it sits, the softer the zucchini will get, and the saucier.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Jocelyn McAuley
    Jocelyn McAuley
  • Julie
  • jeanfc1
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

4 Reviews

Julie June 18, 2019
Delicious. So easy to put together (AND EAT!) Will definitely make again. Can't wait to bring it to potlucks this summer :)
Emma L. June 18, 2019
Thanks so much, Julie!
jeanfc1 September 22, 2021
what is black vinegar? and chile crisp? or chile with sedimants
Jocelyn M. July 3, 2022
They're ingredients that you can find in grocery stores that focus on Asian ingredients, though chili crisp's popularity had made it easier to find these days.