I’m a Southerner by birth and upbringing, and even though I left the South a long time ago, my approach to food is still heavily influenced by my time in the South. For whatever reason, we didn’t do a lot of Soul Food cooking in my house (my heart and my arteries say thank you for that), but we did do a lot of what I think of us Good Down Home Cookin’, and the heart of Good Down Home Cookin’ is good, farmer’s market ingredients, though when I was growing up, it wasn’t as fancy as all of that. We would just stop whenever we saw a food stand on the side of the road and buy whatever yumminess they had: corn, sweet red tomatoes, pecans, which some folks pronounce pea-cans, as in pea-can pie. I am still a sucker for farm fresh ingredients. In the summer, I can make a whole meal of them. I was a vegetarian for ten years, so I don’t even have to have meat on the side to feel satisfied, though if I’ve got a hankering for meat, I can always put some on the grill. Summer and summer cooking is all about making life easy-peasy. It’s about lounging and relaxing and turning food prep into a moving meditation.
One of my favorite summer recipes is Zucchini Mint Salad. You can make it a lot of ways, using whatever you have. The recipe I’m going to share uses mint, parsley, pecorino and green olives, but you can make it with parmesan, goat cheese or feta if you have those on hand, and you can totally substitute black olives for green ones. I don’t remember where I found this recipe, but it’s one of my all time favorites. I hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as I do.
INGREDIENTS Read MORE
8 young zucchini
handful of parsley leaves, torn by hand
handful of mint leaves, torn by hand
1/2 c pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
good quality pecorino cheese
extra virgin olive oil