Classic Carpaccio is an appetizer made of thinly sliced raw beef served in a single layer on a platter, topped with either a creamy white sauce or lemon juice and olive oil. This old-style appetizer has been re-invented for today's modern palate such that almost anything sliced thinly and served on a platter to be dubbed as carpaccio. How fun is that? The possibilities are endless with summer produce.
I have been enjoying zucchini squash carpaccio for some time now. I like to serve it at the end of my work day as a little nibble with a glass of white wine while I prepare dinner. Lately, I have been making it for breakfast along side of my eggs in place of toast. That combo is really good together and it allows me to take a break from the delicious bread I have been making.
There are two important keys to making zucchini squash carpaccio. The squash must be evenly sliced into very thin pieces. Use a mandolin or a food processor. Second, do not add salt to the pan until the end of the cooking process. Adding salt right away will cause the natural liquid to leak out of the squash yielding a steamed mushy outcome. We want the squash to be brown and crisp from the direct heat of the pan. Here's how to make it.
Zucchini Squash Carpaccio
2-3 small zucchini or yellow squash
2 teaspoons oil
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Thinly slice the squash using a mandolin or a food processor. Place an extra large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil around the pan to evenly distribute. Add the squash slices to the pan in a single layer. It is important that the slices are not piled up on top of each other. You want each slice to have direct contact with the pan. At this point, just let the squash slices cook in the pan without moving them around. This is very passive cooking. Once you to see the edges begin to curl up and browning occurring on the underside of the slices, you are almost done. There is no need to turn over the slices as they are fully cooked by this time. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the squash, and pepper if you prefer. Remove the squash from the pan onto a platter into an even layer. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese. Top with some chopped fresh herbs if you have them. Basil or chives would be nice.
The Zucchini Squash Carpaccio is great served hot from the pan, but is also delicious at room temperature. Serve as an appetizer nibble, or as a side dish for dinner or breakfast.