Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

Zucchini CarpaccioVeggie Supreme
Something major happened over the weekend that hasn’t happened in a couple of years—I managed to eek out a few hours over the weekend to plant some tomatoes. While that may not seem like a major event to some of you, for me it’s a big deal. For the last two years, the lack of water in California and the voracious appetites of my chickens have combined to leave me summer garden-less. And, that is unacceptable.

The lack of water was something I couldn’t control. Luckily, we got a decade’s worth of precipitation in the span of what seemed like a week so THAT is no longer an obstacle. (Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe.) All I know is it seemed like someone left the hose running this winter and I am more than ready for it to shut off.

The chicken thing was a different surprise altogether. Who knew that ravenous chickens were one of the seven plagues of the bible? Locusts yes. Chickens not so much. By the destruction left in their path, my walking squawking composters proved that they can more than hold their own against any end of days infestation. My girls were thorough. They ate every plant down to the ground. There was nothin’ left. I’m talking moonscape.  Since then they have been allowed to roam amongst my planter boxes scratching for bugs and taking dirt baths while at the same time turning over the soil and fertilizing. I figure it was the least they could do.

Now the girls are back on their side of the yard giving me the stink eye through the slats in the fence. I think they are plotting something. They have that look…

So far I have only been able to get the tomatoes in. I’m hoping to plant cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and maybe some melons. I’m going to try for peas too. But, it may just be too late. And, I’m tempted to grow zucchini. However, the last time, my husband threatened to have lawyers on the phone if I made him eat anymore. But, I love it, so he may just have to deal. Mainly because I can’t wait to eat recipes like this Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios on the back patio.

It will be many weeks before I can harvest squash from my garden. But, in the meantime, the zucchini on our produce shelves is looking pretty tasty. You can make this dish now, and dream of summertime.

Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios
Adapted from Patricia Wells and Food 52

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt

For the Salad
4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup salted pistachios
Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
Fleur de sel

Make the Dressing
Begin by grating the lemon zest with the finest blade available, making certain to avoid the white pith. In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, a scant 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest, a big pinch teaspoon of the sea salt, and the oil. Secure the lid and shake to blend.

Make the Salad
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise into the thinnest slices possible. We recommend using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, or at least a very sharp chef’s knife. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes The zucchini should absorb the dressing.

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Slice the avocado halves into the thinnest possible slices that will still hold their shape. Finely chop the pistachios.

On individual salad plates, or on a large serving platter, arrange the slices of marinated zucchini alternating with and slightly overlapping the avocado slices. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers. Season with a sprinkling of the fleur de sel.

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