Just Try It.

For some reason, I feel pressure to make you like the foods you think you don’t like. I’m convinced that if you don’t like rhubarb, you’ve never had well-prepared rhubarb or if curry isn’t your thing, then you’ve just not tried the right one. And I will serve you perfectly prepared rhubarb and exquisitely executed curry and the sun will break through the clouds and beam great epiphanic rays upon your head and your life will change forever and I’ll be able to take all the credit for it.

I’m not sure why it’s so important to me that you like rhubarb and curry (or tapioca or tomatoes or avocado). There are things I don’t like (olives and black licorice) and, no matter how many times I try them, the old taste buds still aren’t having it. So if I haven’t been able to change my black licorice or olives tune, I’m not sure why I’m so convinced I can make Carolyn see the joy in beets (Come on, Carolyn. They’re sweet, they’re hot pink, they go with every outfit. What’s not to like?).

Nick gets stuck with the “just try it” treatment the most. He’s lucky he’s not a picky eater, so there aren’t too many things I can foist unwillingly upon him. But there is zucchini. I cleverly infiltrated it into dinner the other night with my Zucchini Basil Muffins, but why-oh-why doesn’t he appreciate the crispy, green summer squash full on? Has zucchini wronged him in some way? Did zucchini boil his bunny?

I am determined. I will show Nick the zucchini light.

And I will do it with Zucchini Carpaccio, the latest trend in the fast-paced zucchini-sphere. Recipes for Zucchini Carpaccio have popped up in cooking doyenne Patricia Well’s latest book, in unbearably adorable Parisian blogger Clotilde Dusoulier’s new book, in Gourmet, and on the Food Network. The recipes are variations on the same concept: thinly sliced raw zucchini marinated in a vinaigrette and sprinkled with some salty cheese for balance. Perhaps this kind of unadulterated zucchini exposure is what Nick’s been missing.

Zucchini Carpaccio is simple enough to wing, sans recipe. I sliced up a zucchini, as thinly as my below-par knife skills allow (I really need a mandoline.) Drizzled it with a lemon vinaigrette and scattered some salty, Greek feta and red onion slices across the top. A 15 minute steep in the vinaigrette later, I presented my beloved husband with my beloved vegetable.

The verdict? He liked it. He ate the whole plateful and said, “I liked it.” Now, I’m not fooling myself, I know that “I liked it” isn’t swooning with undying passion. But I’m making headway. Even if I still don’t like licorice.

Zucchini Carpaccio
Serves 2, as a light main course

1 medium zucchini, sliced as thinking as your knife skills (or mandoline) allow
2 oz. fresh feta
a few slivers of red onion, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Lay the zucchini slices out on two plates. Scatter the feta and red onion across them.

2. Whisk together the next five ingredients and drizzle over the zucchini. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Before serving, add a few grinds of black pepper to each plate.


Anonymous said...

The beets ... oh, the beets. They're sweet, they're hot pink, they taste like dirt, and THEY SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have also been inspired to work with zucchini lately and made a veg lasagna where I substituted zucchini strips for the noodles. I found the best way to get them the right width and thinness was to slice off the bottom of the zucchini so it rests flat on cutting board and then pull a vegetable peeler along the rounded top to peel off perfectly thin, perfectly long slices. Yum. A cheese slicer would probably work well too.