Zucchini Carpaccio – Recipe


The general idea for this lightly cooked zucchini carpaccio came from Paul Bertolli's magnificient Cooking by Hand, which I've reviewed here. I was looking for a something fresh and summery to balance out an Italian menu. It makes an attractive and refreshing alternative to a typical salad. Do it when you have perfect, fresh from the garden zucchini that deserve a turn in the spotlight.

I changed the garnish a bit; instead of pine nuts and basil I chose mint and dill flower heads (along with the olive oil and parmigiano reggiano). Dill flower heads have an intense taste, somewhat reminiscent of caraway (which is in the same botanical family).

The original calls recipe for steaming over water, but I found that the microwave works great. You can cook a batch in a single layer for 30 seconds at a time until they reach the perfect degree of tenderness. In retrospect I think next time I will cook them just a little more than you see in the picture.

I've been enjoying serving family style instead of individual plates. It is less fussy and creates a sense of generosity and community that can be absent from individual plates. This salad looks beautiful on a big platter, and you can make it an hour or two in advance and hold it in the refrigerator until a few minutes before serving.

You'll need a mandoline or mad knife skills to make this. Slices of even thickness are essential both to the appearance for even cooking.

Zucchini Carpaccio
Serves 6 as a light salad course
Vegetarian and gluten-free; vegan if you omit the cheese

  • 2 green zucchini, about 1 inch in diameter and 7 or so inches long
  • 2 yellow zucchini or summer squash, same dimensions or 4 yellow pattypan squash (the UFO looking guys)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar, or good red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • black pepper
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • small handful of fresh dill heads or regular fresh dill, or other herb of your choice
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Trim the ends of all the squash. Using a mandoline, slice somewhere between 1/16 and 1/8" thick. Discard slices that are mostly skin. Working in batches that will fit in a single layer on a microwave safe plate, cook 1 minute. Then cook 30 more seconds at a time until they are quite tender. Reserve on a sheet pan in the refrigerator, keeping the single layer so they don't tear.
  2. Let the shallot macerate in the vinegar for a few minutes, then whisk in the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. When you are ready to serve, arrange either on chilled individual plates or a family style platter. You can see the arrangement I used above, overlapping alternating slices of 1 green zucchini with 2 yellow pattypan, but go with what you feel.
  4. Drizzle on the dressing.
  5. Tear and distribute the herbs. (If you have the dill heads, break them up into small flowers, they are real purty).
  6. Use a vegetable peeler to distribute thin slices of parmigiano-reggiano.
  7. Add a final sprinkling of sea salt to taste.

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, August 3rd, 2009 in Appetizers, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Salads, Vegan or Modifiable.

11 Responses to “Zucchini Carpaccio – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    August 3, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    Sounds REALLY good. I hate to admit I don’t know what Carpaccio actually is, so this will be a fun adventure and definitely put a dent in my zucchini crop.

    How crucial to the finished taste/texture is the Parmesan cheese? (As a vegan, I often just leave cheese out, if it’s just intended as a “topping” but if it’s crucial to the construction and finished product then I might need to get creative…) Excited to try it!!

  2. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    August 3, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Carpaccio just means "sliced really thin"… it is typically made with meat, but can be applied to vegetables as well. The parm is definitely nice, but it would be a good vegan dish too. Maybe add back Bertolli's toasted pine nuts for an additional layer of flavor?

  3. Reply
    August 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    Ah, so you’re in the camp where anything that is thinly sliced is called carpaccio, eh? 🙂 This dish looks very sophisticated.

  4. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    August 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Hey, if Paul Bertolli is willing to call that "zucchini carpaccio", that is good enough for me!

  5. Reply
    August 3, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    Carpaccio has come to mean anything thinly sliced, but I believe the original meat dish was named for a painter famous for his use of red tones. Carpaccio might be a more appropriate name for a salad of thinly sliced beets. In any case, this looks delicious. I do something very similar, except I salt the thinly sliced zucchini and allow that to sit until the zucchini becomes tender – a slightly different texture, but similar flavors otherwise.

  6. Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 12:04 am #

    A simple dish yet showing much thoughtful details. Enjoyed reading, thanks.

  7. Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    Carpaccio means thin, but also means raw…every dish I called carpaccio is not cooked. But of course today names have different meaning to different people and I must adjust (although for Italians is so hard to adjust sometimes :-)).

    I would do this carpaccio raw. You can! cut the zucchini even thinner, add salt and let them throw out the water. rinse, pat dry. add again a little salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Wait 30 minutes. Arrange on a plate and add the other things (parmesan, herbs…).

    If there is some extra juice made by the zucchini marinating you can drizzle it on top.


  8. Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    I love the summer fresh colors and the herbs…simply beautiful 🙂

  9. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    August 4, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    @alessandra, @nick – I like the idea of salting the zucchini to tenderize instead of cooking! I'll have to give that a try.

  10. Reply
    August 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    This dish was great!! Made it today after finding it on Tastespotting a few days ago and liked the looks of it. It was super easy too. I may try it using salt like mentioned above.

  11. Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    When I saw carpaccio and zucchini together I thought, hmmm. I love cooking with zucchini and summer squash because it does seem readily available year round at a good price. This dish is very similar to what I make except I do not add the mint and I use a cheese substitute.


Leave a Reply