It’s summer but it’s kind of gray in L.A. The kind of summer gray that makes me crave green. So this morning I walked down the hill to the Hollywood Farmers Market on the hunt for green. Well, the most prominent green of summer is zucchini. If you have ever grown zucchini you realize how much of the summer garden they are willing to take over if you let them. Why let them?
If zucchini is left to do its thing, 12-pound monster squash would be the result. Those behemoths are fun to look at, but honestly, they are not the zucchini of my culinary dreams. Big zucchini can get woody in texture and quite bitter. I like sweet zucchini, which means I look for the smallest I can find.
Strangely the babies are more prevalent at my Farmers Market during the peak of summer. You’d think the little guys would make their appearance earlier. But I guess as the vine grows the opportunity multiplies exponentially. Makes sense. So farmers have lots of little squash and have no qualms about plucking them when they are tiny. Because they know that as long as summer shines there will be more zucchini.
So it was that I ended up with such a big pile of tiny squash. I made a simple salad with my haul by combining them with white beans, green beans, Parmesan cheese, and lots of lemons (zest and juice). My favorite part of this simple salad is the way the creamy white beans amplify the crunch of the green beans.
Notice the green beans are raw, not blanched. This helps keep them extra supremely crunchy. Slicing the green beans thinly allows the acid in the lemon juice to soften the overtly “green” taste that makes raw green beans objectionable to some people.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
- 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 4 oz ounces green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, crumbled
- 2 lemons, zest, and juice only
- 1 big handful basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 T olive oil
- coarse salt and ground pepper
In a medium bowl, place cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and basil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.