If you thought the humble zucchini was only good for quick breads and zoodle bowls, we’ve got news. It happens to make an excellent—and lightning-fast—salad, as proven by Charlotte Druckman’s minty-fresh zucchini salad with marinated feta. It’s one of the many recipes we love from her new cookbook, Kitchen Remix.
“I was always confused by zucchini’s presence on a crudités platter,” Druckman writes. “I assumed the presiding host couldn’t tell his courgette from his cucumber—who would want to eat the stuff raw? Then I had a salad in Florence: cabbage, avocado and the summer squash, yes, raw, with pine nuts. I’ve been making zucchini salads ever since, and this is one of the greats. The feta soaks in olive oil infused with fresh mint and, to slap your taste buds, a bit of orange zest and chili flakes.”
“Prepare the cheese in advance,” she encourages. “The longer it sits, the more flavor it—and the oil—picks up. The feta provides salt, while its marinade becomes a dressing, which is quite convenient and makes the raw zucchini sing.”
Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Remix by Charlotte Druckman, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.
¼ pound block of feta cheese, cut into squares
Ample bunch of fresh mint leaves, plus more torn leaves for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 or 3 (1-inch) strips orange peel, plus grated zest for garnish
Crushed red-pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1½-by-½-inch batons (about 5½ cups)
1 teaspoon flaky salt (such as Maldon)
½ cup shelled salted, roasted pistachios
¼ cup dried currants
1. Marinate the Feta: At least 1 day and up to 2 weeks before serving, place the feta in a 16-ounce jar. Add a generous amount of fresh mint leaves, packing them in as tightly as you can without breaking up the cheese. Add black pepper, the orange peel and a pinch or two of red-pepper flakes, if using. Fill the jar with enough extra-virgin olive oil to just cover the con- tents, making sure the cheese is completely submerged. Close the jar and turn it over a few times. If you plan to use the cheese the next day, you can keep the jar out at room temperature. Otherwise, place it in the refrigerator.
2. Make the Salad: Place the zucchini in a large serving bowl and season it with the salt; toss to coat. Add the pistachios and the currants and toss to combine.
3. Remove the cheese from the marinade, letting any excess olive oil drain back into the jar; crumble it into the salad, and toss to combine. The cheese will start to coat the zucchini as you mix everything.
4. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the marinating oil over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish the salad with torn fresh mint leaves, additional black pepper and some grated orange zest.
Note: You can reserve the remaining marinade in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and apply it to other salads, on its own or as part of a vinaigrette. Use it for roasting vegetables and poaching fish or dip bread into it. The same goes for the feta: Toss it into a Greek or grilled-chicken salad. Add it to garlicky shrimp or a grilled sausage dish. Make a simple spaghetti with it—and the oil—too.