At the risk of jinxing things by saying this – I think the warm weather is finally (FINALLY!) here to stay in New England! So we’ve been grilling up a storm, and enjoying recipes like this Grilled Zucchini Salad!
When my husband Jack was a boy, his Aunt Mary made a variation of this delicious grilled zucchini salad. It has fantastic Mediterranean-inspired flavors with zucchini that has been lightly grilled until it’s tender. Then the zucchini is served with a tapenade-like dressing of oil-cured Italian black olives and a variety of herbs and spices that is spooned over the zucchini slices along with more olives, grape tomatoes and capers!
Finally the salad is topped with some freshly grated Romano cheese and a finishing touch of fresh, whole mint leaves which add an unexpected, bright flavor that perfectly complements the briny flavors in this grilled zucchini salad. (Trust me – don’t leave out the mint!)
In the event that you have any leftovers after making this grilled zucchini salad, Jack suggests that you mix them with some scrambled eggs for breakfast the next morning! His Aunt Mary did that with her version of this salad – and although it might sound a little unusual to do so, it is an amazing flavor combination you have to try!Print
Note: Feel free to cut back on the amount of olive oil used in this dish if you prefer. Jack remembers eating this dish growing up prepared as we did here, and he would dip the Italian bread in the oil that collected at the bottom of the platter. (Delicious!)
- 3–4 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 cup oil-cured Italian pitted black olives (approximately 1 jar, we like Pastene)
- ¾ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup capers drained
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
- 12 mint leaves, left whole
- Italian bread, for serving
- Preheat grill to a medium heat.
- Cut the stem off the top of each zucchini, then slice into ¼ inch slices lengthwise. Lay each slice out on a sheet pan in a single layer.
- In a mini food processor, place 24 pitted olives (about ¼ cup), ½ cup of olive oil, celery seed, celery salt, red pepper flakes, oregano and vinegar. Process the mixture until an oily paste forms.
- Spread the mixture on both sides of the squash, reserving about 1/4 cup.
- In a separate bowl, mix the remaining olives with the tomatoes, the drained capers, ¼ cup of olive oil, and the black pepper and set aside.
- Grill zucchini one to two minutes on each side until they have nice grill marks and are just slightly cooked. (Try not to overcook.)
- Place cooked zucchini on a platter (curling and twisting the squash) then spread the grape tomato mixture over the top.
- Finally, top with the reserved 1/4 cup of the olive paste, Romano cheese and the mint and serve with nice crusty Italian bread.
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