Zucchini Noodles with Mint and Parmigiano-Vegetarian-Summer

Zucchini Noodles with Mint and Parmigiano
This starter is chic and elegant, and yes it is made with the humble zucchini! The exquisite flavor of the fresh squash is highlighted by the bright flavor of mint. And served raw, the texture has a delicate crunch. The Parmigiano adds a bit of richness and the pine nuts a bit more crunch. This should be your little "black dress" of a summer starter, perfect for any occasion!

Makes 4 first-course servings.

4 small zucchini and/or yellow squash (1 lb. total)
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted (1 oz)
1 (3-oz) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
Edible flowers for garnish: scarlet runner bean flowers, chive blossoms and bachelor buttons
Special equipment: hand-held julienne peeler.

1. Using a julienne peeler*, julienne the zucchini and place in a bowl.

2. Whisk together oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, and then drizzle over zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on small plates and let stand for 5 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.

3. Just before serving: Divide zucchini noodles onto four small plates. Use tongs to take a portion of the zucchini "noodles" and place them in the center of each plate. Make a chiffonade of mint by stacking the mint leaves and cutting them crosswise into very thin 1/8-inch slivers. Sprinkle mint over zucchini. Shave Parmigiano-Reggiano with a vegetable peeler over zucchini then sprinkle with pine nuts and edible flowers.

*if you don't have a julienne peeler you can use a vegetable peeler. You'll have pappardelle instead of linguini noodles. You can also use a mandoline slicer.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie