The things I love most about growing our own vegetables are the little "surprises" we get. Maybe it's because we are amateurs, or maybe it's like this for all vegetable gardeners. I'm not sure. But we always think we know what we are planting, eagerly await the crop, and then somehow get a lot of some things and none of others. Sadly, our vision of the crop, and the reality, do not always match. We've had lots of luck with peas, squash, eggplant, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes, sporadic luck with beets, zucchini, herbs, and cucumbers, and absolutely no luck with peppers, broccoli, or brussel sprouts. This year the zucchinis decided they wanted in on the 'no grow' list. A few of them rotted and the only other one stayed little but developed an unappealing hard skin. We did get a couple tiny ones that we ate, but nothing to brag about. So, imagine my surprise when I looked under the enormous leaves and saw 2 medium, beautifully formed zucchinis! I was so excited and I couldn't wait to search out a recipe. This was a great and healthy way to enjoy the fresh zucchini and makes an excellent side dish or light dinner.
Adapted slightly from Gourmet, July 2006
1 pound zucchini (about 2 large)
1 teaspoons salt
1/3 pound arugula, stems discarded and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (4 cups)
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (on large holes of a box grater; 1/3 - 1/2 cup, or use pre-grated)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
handful of walnuts (optional)
Special equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer (I didn't have one. So, I just sliced my zucchinis very thin with a sharp knife.)
Cut zucchini crosswise into paper-thin slices with slicer. Toss zucchini slices with one teaspoon salt in a large colander set over a bowl and let drain 20 minutes.
Rinse zucchini slices well, then drain, pressing gently on slices to extract any excess liquid. Pat zucchini slices dry with a kitchen towel.
Put arugula greens in a large bowl. Sprinkle with half the Parmigiano-Reggiano and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over greens and toss. Arrange zucchini slices over arugula greens, then drizzle with remaining oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano, walnuts, and pepper.