Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives and Fresh Mozzarella

zucchini salad.jpg

I'm pretty stoked to report that this post is being sent directly from the Western Headquarters of the Circle B Kitchen.  Which is to say, we're snuggled into our little place here on the Central Coast of California for a couple of weeks.  This time we brought our daughter and 4 of our spectacularly wondrous grandkids (ages 11 to 19).  I don't think it's even possible to describe how much fun we've been having here with them, so I won't even give that a try.  Suffice to say it has been epic.

But their week here is over, they've all flown back home now and the quiet that has settled in their wake is a bit unnerving.  But not in a completely bad way.  We can actually hear the ocean once again, and as much as we miss those monkeys, this is nice too.

And the recipe I'm sharing with you today has nothing whatsoever to do with any of that.  

It's something I made a whole bunch of times before we left home, and every time we were surprised by how good it was.  Just a few simple ingredients... zucchini, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives and a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, but it's definitely one of those instances where the end result is much better than the sum of its parts.  Or something like that.  Put more succinctly, the experience of this salad seems way better than it should be.

We're talking very thin slices of zucchini which are marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  This on its own was startlingly good, but the addition of the mozzarella and olives made it even more tasty.  There's something about those super thin slices of marinated zucchini...

I used baby zucchini from Trader Joe's, but any zucchini or summer squash will do.

If you don't have a mandoline, just use a vegetable peeler, but if you wanted to use your spiralizer and make zoodles, nobody here's gonna complain.

You can marinate the zucchini for days in the fridge and it only gets better.  When you're ready to serve it, just sprinkle it with olives and chunks of fresh mozzarella and you've got yourself a wondrous side salad for your next barbecue or picnic.  It would also make a great lunch for the office.  I mostly keep a fork handy for diving in whenever the fridge door is open.  Here's the recipe...

Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives and Fresh Mozzarella

Click here for a printable recipe

We were surprised at how scrumptious this salad turned out to be.  The flavors and textures are spot on and make the perfect summer side dish.  One of the beauties of this salad is that you can prepare the zucchini days in advance - it only gets better the longer it marinates.  Just stir in the cheese and olives just before serving.  I used baby zucchini from Trader Joe's and they were the perfect size for a salad.  I recommend you use the smallest squash you can find and if need be, slice them in half or quarters lengthwise before running them through the mandoline.  I only had a ball of fresh mozzarella on hand, but can imagine how delicious it would be with the buffalo mozzarella.  Enjoy!

Reciped Adapted from Food52

4 medium yellow or green zucchini
Juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 balls buffalo mozzarella (I used standard fresh mozzarella)
16 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Fresh basil and oregano leaves (cilantro and mint work well, too), finely chopped

Cut the zucchini into ribbons with a mandoline or a vegetable peeler. Put them in a bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the mozzarella into small pieces and add them, the olives, and the chopped herbs to the chilled zucchini. Taste for salt and pepper.  Stir well and serve!