A simple salad of boiled summer squash dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar
We love everything about fall. The colours, the warm knit sweaters, the cool crisp air, the fact that you can call it fall or autumn. We love that everyone is busy pumpkin-spicing everything, and baking all manner of apple wonderfulness. But, we love summer too and despite the fact that it’s October and Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner, we’ll hang on to summer just a little while longer if you don’t mind.
And what better way to hang onto summer than with a simple, fresh and surprisingly delicious salad made with zucchini, that versatile and easily accessible summer squash! Zucchini is our mother’s favourite vegetable. In a world of broccoli and rapini and cauliflower, our mother chose to love zucchini above all others. And this recipe, a simple salad of boiled zucchini dressed with nothing more than olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper is going to help you understand why she favours it. You might think that this salad would be bland, or soggy, or mushy, or entirely not post-worthy, but you would be wrong.
Summer squash salads are a staple all over Greece, and they perfectly represent what is so wonderful about Greek cooking. Real food, prepared simply, and economically with little fuss. This zucchini salad, or kolokithosalata as it is called in Greek, is the perfect dish to whip together when you have company. In the summer time, when our parents garden has an abundance of zucchini, this is a staple. Served alongside some souvlaki or marinated chicken thighs you don’t need anything else! (But you might want to add some of this rice, because it’s delicious 🙂 ).
If you prefer your zucchini to have a little more bite to them, then you may not want to boil them for too long. Remember that zucchini is a vegetable, and therefore you can easily and happily eat it raw. The point of boiling it is to alter the flavour, and texture. So, cook your zucchini to achieve the texture you like. Traditionally, zucchini salad has zucchini which is soft and tender; this makes it easier for the olive oil and vinegar to seep in and flavour the squash as well.
It is important to carefully transfer your boiled zucchini into a bowl of cold water. Do so very carefully however as the zucchini are gentle and may break apart if you don’t treat them with care.
You can dress your salad several hours before serving. We like to eat kolokithosalata at room temperature, but you can also enjoy it cold or warm.
Do you love zucchini as much as our mom does? Or do you want to learn to love it more? Check out these amazing recipes, where summer squash stars!
Zucchini salad (Κολοκυθοσαλάτα)
- 4 zucchini, medium size
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Wash your zucchini well and place them in a pot large enough to hold them. Cover the zucchini with water, add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium, and boil the zucchini with the pot covered for approximately 10 minutes, until a fork can be easily inserted into the zucchini.
- Transfer the zucchini carefully into a bowl of cold water. When the zucchini are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cutting board, cut off the stem ends and discard. Then, cut the zucchini into 1 inch thick rounds.
- Arrange the zucchini slices onto a serving platter or bowl. The zucchini slices can overlap a little but try not to have them too crowded on a small plate. Drizzle the olive oil and red wine vinegar over the zucchini. Sprinkle with the dry oregano and the additional salt.
- Serve either cold from the refrigerator or at room temperature.