Save this fresh, colorful salad for early summer, when markets have small, tender zucchini. For the best results, look for zucchini that are no more than 6 inches (15 cm) long, and choose straight ones that will be easy to shave into ribbons. You can shave the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, but a mandoline or V-slicer makes the job easier. Pair with California Sauvignon Blanc or California rosé.
- 1/3 cup (30 g) sliced almonds
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar, or more as needed
- 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 small zucchini, preferably 2 green and 2 yellow, about ¾ pound (350 g)
- 2 small carrots, peeled
- 2 large handfuls arugula (2 to 3 ounces/60 to 90 g)
- Chunk of semi-firm pecorino cheese or crumbled cotija cheese (you’ll use about 3 ounces/90 g total)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly colored and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove both ends of the zucchini and carrots. With a V-slicer, mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave the vegetables lengthwise into thin ribbons. Discard the first and last slices of zucchini, which are mostly skin. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss well to coat with the dressing. Let stand until the vegetables soften slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. The zucchini should be pliable enough to twirl with a fork without breaking. Do not let them stand too long or they will release liquid and water down the dressing.
Add the arugula and toss gently. With a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, shave about 3 ounces (90 g) of semi-firm percorino cheese, or crumble cotija cheese into the salad. Add the almonds and toss gently. Taste for salt and vinegar, then serve immediately.