Zucchini and Pear Salad
3 medium summer squash/zucchini cut in half lengthwise
1-2 pears, sliced thinly
1/4 cup hazelnuts
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, save half for garnish
1 garlic clove, crushed and grated
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Flaky sea salt
Toasted country style bread or French baguette for serving
Toss squash and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a glass bowl and set aside for 10-20 minutes.
Toss hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan and fry over medium heat until golden brown, shaking regularly for 5-10 minutes. Let cool and dry with a paper towel. Then crush into large pieces using a pestle or the bottom of a saucepan.
In a large bowl, mix 3 mint sprigs, garlic, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons oil. Set aside.
In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Once you the oil is at a light simmer and the squash sizzles when it hits the pan, add squash, cut side down. Brown the flat side down for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce heat to low, flip the squash skin side down and cover; continue cooking for about 12-15 minutes. The squash should be very soft. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.
In another bowl mix ricotta, lemon juice from ½ of a lemon and salt. Set aside.
Cut squash into 2 inch pieces and toss in dressing to coat, and then season with salt and black pepper. Let this sit at room temperature for around 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Discard mint leaves.
While the squash is marinating, zest the lemon half into a bowl and mix with ricotta and remaining olive oil. Season with salt.
Spread lemon ricotta onto your serving dish and top with pear slices, squash, and marinade juices. Scatter the remaining mint leaves and hazelnuts. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve with toasted bread if desired.
Sponsor: Duerdens Appliance