Grilled Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad

Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Recipes, Sides & Salads | 0 comments

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We made this at  New School of Cooking,  and I was immediately impressed with how good it was.  Zucchini had never blown me away before, but I’m not gonna lie this recipe has been a major game-changer.  Every time I make it for a group, people go nuts and it’s now one of our weekly veggie dishes.

It’s even better if you have a spouse who loves to grill, but even if you don’t have a standard grill you can use a grill pan and be fine.  It’s the perfect side dish!

Serves 4-6

You’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup shelled hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 7 small zucchini or 3 large
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups mixed green and purple basil leaves (I usually just use green)
  • 3 oz top-quality parmesan, broken up or very thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp hazelnut oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. Scatter the hazelnuts over a baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Let them cool down before rubbing them between your hands to remove most of the skins (some should remain).  Chop the hazelnuts roughly.

Place a ridged griddle pan on high heat and leave it there until it’s almost red-hot–at least 5 minutes or use a standard grill.

Meanwhile, trim the ends of the zucchini and cut them on an angle into 3/8-inch-thick-slices.

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Place them in a bowl and toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Place the slices on the hot grill pan or grill and char-grill for about 2 minutes on each side; turn them over using tongs.  You want to get distinct char marks.  Transfer to a mixing bowl, pour over the balsamic vinegar, toss together and set aside.

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Once the zucchini have cooled down, add the remaining olive oil, the basil and hazelnuts.  Mix lightly, then taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.  Transfer the salad to a flat plate, incorporating the Parmesan, and drizzle the hazelnut oil over the dish for a finishing touch (parm not shown below, but trust me–it makes the dish).

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