02 October 2011

Jamie Oliver and some Seriously Good Grilled Zucchini Salad

I'm going to be honest and I say I was against Jamie Oliver at the start. It's like when the new girl shows up in school and she's popular and pretty and gets good grades AND plays sports, and on top of that she's nice and has an adorable British accent and everyone loves her. You just have to dislike her on principle. Until she wins you over with her perfect niceness too. Okay, this is not exactly like that. Jamie Oliver is not a girl. He's not new on the scene. And he didn't win me over with his niceness. But you get the idea.

For our wedding, one of the families I babysit for, gave us this book full of tantalizing recipes. Everything looked so good that at first it just served to aggravate my jealous dislike, so what changed my mind? Zucchini. Zucchini did it. Every fall, I scramble to find ways to use up zucchini, and while I've certainly found some good ones, like this Zucchini-Feta Tart or this Garam-Masala Salmon with Zucchini, anyone who can get me to actually ENJOY zucchini after the insane amounts of it my CSA foists on me in the fall, is definitely worth a second chance. Besides, I read my classics and I know that it's not good to hold on to prejudice forever. If Lizzy did, where would she and Mr. Darcy be? Not nearly as happy or as well-loved by generations of readers that's where. Not that I'm comparing Jamie Oliver to Mr. Darcy or anything. Oh dear, this is getting out of hand.

I guess what I'm saying is, this salad is delicious. Absolutely delicious. Worth it if you like zucchini. Worth it if you're totally sick of zucchini. Worth it if you want to be in vogue and also if you'd do anything to avoid such a fate. You can make this a bunch of different ways with different accompaniments. This is one version I made and loved.

3-4 zucchinis (depending on the size)
1/4-1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove
1 bunch mint
1 cup creamy goat cheese (I used Petit Billy)
sea salt, pepper

Slice the zucchini as thin as possible. Cook the slices on a hot grill or barbecue. (I don't have one so I do this in my oven on the boiler setting, but as a result they come out softer and less crunchy I think than Jamie intended. Still good though.) In the meantime, roughly chop the mint and set aside. Make up a sauce by squeezing the lemon to taste into the olive oil. Press the clove of garlic in a garlic press and add to sauce. When the zucchini starts to brown, serve onto plates. Put a dollop of goat cheese in the middle of each serving. Liberally, sprinkle with mint, and spoon the sauce over. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love Jamie Oliver's work! That salad looks delicious.



Anonymous said...

At first I thought Jamie Oliver was cute, but kind of a goober. Then I learned a little more about his work for school lunches in Britain and I came to respect what he stands for. I also read in Consumer Reports that his books tend to be some of the best-tested in the business.

The salad sounds fantastic.

Hopie said...

Rosa - In this case, looks are not deceiving :-) Have a great weekend!

Camille - I'm totally with you. It's like you don't expect him to be cute AND a creative, talented chef AND socially responsible. You should definitely try this salad if you're overrun with zucchini from the CSA as I am!

Melanie said...

Have you seen his show Food Revolution? It may still be available on Hulu. He did incredible work for the LA school systems..I basically fell in love with him then..

PG said...

I was robbed of my zucchini this year -- we have the most aggressive squirrels on our street that climbed over the chicken wire surround and ate anything that grew.

Hopie said...

Mel - No, I haven't seen any of his shows. But I've definitely heard good things about his work!

Psychgrad - I know, the French think squirrels are cute and I'm like "you don't know squirrels, let me tell you" ;-)

Agrigirl said...

The salad looks amazing. I like Jamie and his stuff is available on Hulu.