Raw and Charred Zucchini Salad


Before summer slips away, we’ve been trying to pack in some fun. This weekend Bryan’s parents were in town and we took a road trip up to Harbor County, Michigan. It was nice to get away for the day, walk on the beach, and enjoy the charming beach side towns that make up this stretch of southwest Michigan. One of my favorite Chicago restaurants, Pleasant House Bakery, has opened a second location in Three Oaks, a small town that has a surprising number of great things to see and do (and eat!). How many towns of 1600 people have a cinema showing independent/art house films? We had a fantastic lunch at Pleasant House (the beer they’re brewing at this location is really special) and we found a mirror we should have bought but didn’t at Ipso Facto (such regret!). I also really liked AP in Lakeside, which was recommended by a friend (thanks, Emily!). The shop sells women’s clothing, but also some home goods. It is a beautifully designed little world that I was happy to spend time in. I picked up some linen tea towels. Ariane at AP recommended the Sawyer Garden Center for some local fruit, and it turned out to be a great stop. We left with local peaches, plums and blueberries. As we drove back into the city and sat in the usual end-of-the-weekend traffic, I was scheming how best to make the most of these last few weeks of summer in the kitchen.



This salad is not a bad start. I found this recipe in a recent issue of Food & Wine. It is a bit fussier than I tend to like, but it was so delicious that I’ve decided it was worth it. It is also perfect if you have a bumper crop of zucchini to use up. It feels like late summer, and it is exactly what I want to be eating right now.


We don’t have a grill, so I put half of the zucchini under the broiler to char. You want to serve this salad soon after making it.

Raw and Charred Zucchini Salad (from Food & Wine)

  • 2 cups finely diced crustless country bread
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the grill
  • 1 (dried) ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds mixed zucchini and yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces feta, crumbled (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 325°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until the bread is lightly golden; transfer to a bowl and crush.

In a microwave-safe bowl, cover the ancho with water and microwave for 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes. Scrape the ancho flesh from the skin and add to the bread with the pine nuts; mash until moist crumbs form. Season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill. Using a wide vegetable peeler, thinly slice one-third of the zucchini and summer squash into ribbons and refrigerate. Cut the rest into 1/4-inch rounds and transfer to a bowl; toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until lightly charred, 5 minutes; return to the bowl. Add the ribbons, mint, parsley and tomatoes and toss.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the remaining oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with the salad. Add the feta and toss again. Sprinkle with the pine nut crumbs. Serve.


20 comments to “Raw and Charred Zucchini Salad”

  1. OBSESSED with PHB. And couldn’t help but think of this exchange when you mentioned the Mirror That Should Have Been:

    Dionne: Dude, what’s wrong–you suffering from buyer’s remorse of something?
    Cher: GOD NO! Nothing like that!

  2. Ha! Thanks for the Clueless quote, hanna. I am not alone.

  3. We don’t have a grill either, so this recipe would be perfect for me! Love!

  4. Oh, Michigan beach country is so pretty–it’s been far too long since I’ve been there for an afternoon on the dunes. I love the idea of combining cooked and raw zucchini in this salad–such a great mix of textures & flavors.

  5. Harbor County sounds like a great summer get-away spot and this zucchini salad looks wonderful. We have it coming out of our ears – thanks for the great idea!

  6. What a great combination of flavours and textures! Substantial enough for a light meal as well..looks delicious.

  7. Tim, you always have the BEST tea towels. (The salad looks wonderful too.)

  8. Charred zucchini not only sounds delicious, but looks irresistible!

  9. Simple and delicious, thank you for sharing!

  10. Very nice, fresh, healthy salad and beautiful pictures, as usual!

  11. Charred zucchini sounds perfect. I hate it when it gets mushy, and I bet charring it will prevent that!

  12. Looks great, what a lovely way to celebrate the end of summer.

  13. I want to be sick of zucchini, because it is EVERYWHERE, but I love it too much. This is yet another awesome recipe with this awesome squash!

  14. Made this last night and eating leftovers for lunch today. Even better than I expected it to be. Thank you!

  15. Made this last night with zucchini and tomatoes from our garden. It was absolutely delicious. Great to have a new way to use zucchini. It looked so pretty and fresh! I prepped everything early in the day and tossed it all right before serving.Thanks.

  16. woohoo! i just read this. so happy you loved AP as much as i do. :)

  17. schneiderluvsdoof says:

    August 29th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    You do so many magical things with tomatoes.

  18. The last days of summer are the hardest! Although I love autumn it is always hard to say goodbye the the summer light. Looks great!

  19. schneiderluvsdoof says:

    September 30th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Pine nuts are so good in salads!

  20. martha mckain says:

    January 22nd, 2015 at 10:43 am

    great recipes thank you

What do you think?