I would say that every single time I cook, I make a salad as well. Sometimes I only make salad. Salad, salad, salad. Ahem. Most of the time I use lettuce. Very occasionally I use spinach. Sometimes I don’t use a leafy green at all. Which brings me to this stunner. I bought zucchini at my farmers’ market because I couldn’t get this dish out of my mind but I ended up taking it in a different direction. Also I didn’t have any burrata. Also I was trying to cook through things in my pantry and refrigerator.
So I grilled slabs of zucchini, shelled peas, chopped up kalamata olives, drained chickpeas, grated Pecorino cheese, and chopped mint. I put everything in a big bowl and tossed it with a little olive oil and the juice of a lemon. I sprinkled Piment d’Espelette over the top and was prepared to really like the whole thing. With the exception of zucchini, those are all ingredients that I use to boost flavor in other dishes. Chickpeas round out pastas and soups in my house, mint can be surprising in Asian food, Pecorino tastes great with eggs, fresh peas add a nice pop to leafy salads, and olives are welcome just about anywhere. So I expected to like all my favorites together in one bowl. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how tasty this was. Nutty, smoky, sweet, very savory. I can’t wait to make it again.
One Year Ago: Radicchio Tart; Orecchiette with Roasted Tomatoes and Corn; Summer Potatoes Stewed with Eggplant, Peppers, and Olives; Pilaf with Vermecelli, Chickpeas, and Apricots
Two Years Ago: Roasted Eggplant Caponata, D’Lish Peppadew Peppers, Chard and Saffron Tart, Vanilla Cake with Strawberry and Cream Frosting
Three Years Ago: Mixed Berry Spoon Cake
Four Years Ago: Succotash
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Chickpeas, Mint, and Pecorino Romano
Dana Treat Original
Usually I say frozen peas are just as good as fresh but not in this case. You want crunch as well as sweetness. If you can’t get fresh peas, I would buy a couple handfuls of snap peas and thinly slice them on the diagonal. If you don’t have Piment d’Espelette you can either just grind a bit of black pepper over top or, for a bit of smokiness, sprinkle a bit of smoked paprika over top.
3 large zucchini, thickly sliced on a diagnonal
Kosher or sea salt
¾ cup kalamata olives, halved
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup shelled fresh English peas
Leaves of 2 large sprigs mint, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Several pinches Piment d’Espelette
Heat a grill to high. Place the zucchini slices in a large bowl. Drizzle with a liberal amount of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Grill the slices until they are soft and have visible grill marks. Make sure to flip over half way through. Take the slices off the grill and return them to the bowl. Allow them to cool slightly, then add the olives, chickpeas, and peas. Toss gently and allow to cool to room temperature. Then add the mint, cheese, and the lemon juice. Toss carefully to combine. I found I had enough olive oil from the zucchini for my taste but add more if your salad needs it. Sprinkle the Piment d’Espelette over top.