One memory I have about my childhood summers was my aunt planting zucchini at our country house and harvesting vast quantities of them through the season. This routine assured her an adequate supply of zucchini flowers, which she would fry or use to make fritters, frittatas, and even pizza. (In the 50s and 60s, zucchini flowers–not then known as “blossoms”–were hard to come by.)
With the zucchini themselves, she would prepare a variety of dishes: among them, ciambotto, an Italian version of ratatouille; cocozelle (zucchini sauteed with onions and then combined with gently scrambled egg); a simple saute with garlic and oil as a side dish; scapece (fried slices of zucchini marinated with vinegar, garlic, and mint) and this simple salad similar to scapece but not fried.
2 small zucchini
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs mint
1/4 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
1- In a 3 quart sauce pan bring water to a boil.
2- Partially peel the zucchini in alternating strips. If the zucchini are very young, you can leave the peel on.
3- Quarter the zucchini and then slice into 2-inch wedges and thinly slice the garlic.
4- Tear the mint leaves.
5- Add salt to the boiling water and slide in the zucchini wedges. Blanch for approximately 3 minutes.
6- When done, place the blanched zucchini in an ice bath.
7- Drain the zucchini and transfer to a small serving dish just big enough to hold them in a single layer.
8- Salt the zucchini and then drizzle with the vinegar and oil. Add the garlic and mint leaves.
8- Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours stirring once or twice.
Serve as a side dish or with crusty bread as an appetizer or salad.
I served this as a salad after Mark Bittman’s Deviled Chicken Thighs.
Wine Pairing: Southern French Rose