Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad

Say you're in the mood for a beautiful salad. And say that a few weeks ago, you couldn't get grill marks on your polenta to save your life and you really wanted those grill marks. Well, then, this is the recipe for you. Say you also happen to know where to acquire fresh hazelnuts, well, then, this recipe was made for you. (Like, you owe it to this recipe to make it.) Alas, I didn't even know fresh hazelnuts were a thing and so, naturally, I used regular hazelnuts a.k.a. hazelnuts.

If I were going to do a stand-up comedy routine about this recipe, this is one of the jokes I might make:

[I pace around the stage. Leather jumpsuit. Microphone in hand.]
You guys know the cookbook, Plenty? [A few catcalls. Light applause.]
It's one of those perfectly titled books, you know. Because it sure has plenty of ingredients I ain't never heard of! [Wild laughter.]
What I did have going for me, however, were these yellow zucchinis. Aren't they just beautiful? Oh, and grill marks? I got those this time. High five!
Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad slightly adapted from Plenty
serves 4

1/3 cup shelled hazelnuts
7 small zucchini (1 3/4 lbs in total)
4 tbsp olive oil plus 2 tsp to drizzle on at the end
salt and black pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups green basil leaves
3 oz top-quality Parmesan, broken up or very thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 300F. Scatter the hazelnuts over a baking sheet and roast until nicely browned and it smells like toasted hazelnuts. [The recipe says 12-15 minutes, but that must be for fresh hazelnuts because after about 7 minutes, my regular hazelnuts were totally ready to go.] Let them cool down before chopping roughly or just crushing lightly with the side of a large knife.

Place a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and leave it there until it's almost red-hot--at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the ends of the zucchini and cut them on an angle into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place them in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place the slices in the hot grill pan and char-grill for about 2 minutes on each side [I had to do this in two batches because you really only want one single layer of slices at a time, otherwise you won't get the grill marks you desperately want/need.]; turn them over using tongs. You want to get distinct char marks without cooking the zucchini through. Transfer to a mixing bowl, pour over the balsamic vinegar, toss together and set aside.

Once the zucchini have cooled down, add the remaining olive oil, the basil and hazelnuts. Mix lightly, then taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Transfer the salad to a flat plate, incorporating the Parmesan, and drizzle over 2 more teaspoons of olive oil.


Matthew said...

Food jokes! Also, this salad rules!

Ondina Maria said...

I love "Plenty" it's such a great book full of wonderful recipes! Your salad came out nicely :)
Today I'm grilling polenta and I want it with grill marks :p

la domestique said...

Funny times and the salad looks fab (5 stars for your grill marks). My day just got a little bit better. :)

Eileen said...

Zucchini with hazelnuts? I would never have come up with this sone! Sounds amazing. :)

Nicole said...

Nice work on the grill marks! They just make me happy, too. What an interesting, but delicious-sounding combo.

talley said...

Ha! And most of the recipes have a heck of a lot of ingredients, period. This one looks manageable though and I love a good grill mark on a zucchini. I especially love when zucchini's get a bit crispy on the grill - SO GOOD. I might just go ahead and get grill mark crazy and throw some nectarines on the grill too, why not!

Kara said...

Hi Amelia

Please, I would like to see this leather jumpsuit. Also, are yellow zucchini *not* yellow squash?!? This is a weird wild world we live in.

Finally, zucchini is difficult to spell. You've done a terrific job with this post. But where tf is Mavis?!?

Sophie said...

Plenty is one of the best books I've ever bought! So good.

Unknown said...

I think a video is in order of you in a leather jumpsuit making food jokes.

This salad was delicious, by the way, and the grill marks looked even better in person.


robbwitmer said...

Zucchini be serious! [Insane laughter that can only be tempered by force.]

Amelia Morris said...

Hi Kara! The leather jumpsuit is at the dry cleaners! Otherwise, I would definitely have included it here. As for the yellow zucchini, I don't know! All I know is that when I bought them at the little neighborhood grocer, they were labeled: yellow zucchini. Perhaps I should Google it?

And as for Mavis, she sends her warmest regards!!

Amelia Morris said...

It's like that eternal question: if there are no grill marks, was it even grilled?!

Sunday Taylor said...

This looks delicious Amelia, and I have the cookbook, which I have never used! Now I am inspired to break it open and give it a try! Thanks for the encouragement!

Rachel said...

So I would be one of those comics like Ricky Gervais or Louis CK who does stand up in jeans and a black t-shirt.
This recipe sounds interesting. What a strange collection of flavors. Could you taste the zucchini at all? It's so mild against vinegar and basil. Although, now I see there is little vinegar really.... Must be a good meal for these hot LA days!

Ms.Nožisková said...

Of course Kara would beat me to it. Also very curious about this leather jumpsuit (& how it came to be part of your stand-up routine). I do hope it's more of the Amelia Earheart variety with a cool pantaloon-like pant than say, cat woman.

*And* those are *vivid* yellow whatever-they-are. Produce in California... how I envy thee. (Speaking of, do you ever go to Forage? I do believe it is very near you now!)

Amelia Morris said...

I'm totally stealing that for my next show!!

Amelia Morris said...

Always say yes to the pantaloon-pant is my policy.

As for Forage, yes! It's delicious. In fact, should take Kara there when she visits!! :)

joanna said...

this looks mighty delicious! i ALMOST made this a few months ago at my friend erich's in SF. homeboy has the plenty cookbook and holy crap is it a feast for the eyes. we made the fennel with goat cheese and dill and homemade pasta (first time for me!) with the brown butter sage sauce and pinenuts. it was DIVINE. this looks way easier than the pasta which took all freakin' day. i was so hungry that i wasn't hungry by dinner time. i'm forwarding this to erich! xo

Mary Anne said...

yummmmmm this is a lot like the bon appetit zucchini salad that i made, per your suggestion. this one looks good toooooooo.

Megan Taylor said...

Yum! Dream salad, Amelia! I want to make for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Gonna make it work :)

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maxine said...

surely the leather jumpsuit is a 'raw/delirious' reference?
this is the plane that killed eddie murphy!