Summery Zucchini Salad & Tomato-Ricotta “Pizza”

Zucchini-Salad-and-Pizza-Bianco-4Usually I have a plan set up, or at least some hazy idea about what I’m looking for on our saturday stroll across the big farmer’s market in town. This time… nothing. Nada. Zilch. Blanks and some cobwebs in the food section of my head, but not much else. Trying to force an idea of what I wanted to eat out of my skull gave me a headache and the very non-helpful adjective „colorful“. Hubby added the similarily helpful word „vegetables“ to the fog. Well, the market sure is the best place to find inspiration in the neighborhood of „colorful vegetables“ and something to go right along with them.

So we went huntig and returned home with bulging bags. Four different types, and colors of course, of zucchini, five types of tomatoes and a couple of other things – including something I’ve never seen before: a bright purple head of cauliflower, that’s a story for a different time though. A wonderful stand selling all kinds of sheep’s- and goat’s milk products added an icredibly tasty slice of parmesan to the pile of things I was facing after I had unpacked everything back at home. The problem was… I still had no damn clue about what to do with it all. Seriously annoyed I started stashing everything away, considering ordering pizza, when a packet of corn tortillas slipped out from where I had wedged it between two bottles of vinegar. Hm! Coincidence? Or Sino the houseghost giving me a well deserved slap on the back of my head? Either way, the fog cleared and everything clicked into place. So, here’s my bastardized version of a very veggie and colorful pizza bianco, accompanied by a lemony zucchini threesome.

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The „Colorful“ #1: Zucchini Salad

1 small (yellow) Zucchini, finely julienne’d
1 small, round (purple) Zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1 small (green) Zucchini, sliced into thin ribbons with a veggie peeler
1 Lemon, Juice and Zest
1 Tsp dried Thyme leaves or the leaves of 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme
1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
2 Tsp runny Honey
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – for the dressing
1 Tbsp normal Olive Oil – for the marinade
1 generous Pinch of Chilli Flakes
1 Pinch of dried and granulated Garlic
1 Pinch of dried Oregano
1 Pinch each of Salt and freshly cracked black Pepper

1) Place the lemon juice, thyme, fresh garlic, honey, salt and extra-virgin oil in a large mixing bowl.
2) Stir the dressing until honey and salt have dissolved.
3) Add the yellow zucchini matchsticks and lightly toss them until they’re evenly coated with the dressing. Set the bowl aside.
4) Blend the „normal“ olive oil, lemon zest, chilli flakes, dried garlic, oregano, salt and pepper into a marinade in a small bowl.
5) Spread out the purple zucchini rounds on a plate and brush them with the marinade on both sides.
6) Set the plate aside and let the marinade do it’s magic for around 30 mins.
7) Bring a small pot of water, set on high heat, to a boil.
8) Once the water is bubbling away, take the pot off the stove and add the green zucchini ribbons.
9) Blanch them for 1 min, then move them out of the hot water into a bowl of really cold water – preferably with some ice cubes swimming in it.
10) Drain them and pat them dry with a paper towel. Add them to the bowl with the yellow zucchini marinading away in, and give them a light toss to coat the new arrivals with the dressing as well.
11) Fire up a griddle on high heat. Let it sit there for about 5 mins to make sure it’s at its max temperature before popping in the veggies – the zucchini would overcook and turn all wobbly before the griddle would actually roast them if you’d place them in a cold pan.
12) Place the marinated zucchini disks inside for around 2 mins on each side – just enough time for the griddle to mark up the rounds.
13) Once they’re done, pat them with a paper towel to remove the excess moisure before moving them into the bowl with the others.
14) Set the bowl aside after giving its contents another light flip and move on to the pizza.

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The Pizza

Since soaking up sauces and toppings is kind of an imperative in a tortilla’s job description, I decided to skip the tomato sauce and other potentially soggy toppings endangering the crispy outcome of the experiment and went with a ricotta base instead.

The Ricotta Cream
150g Ricotta
3 dried Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, very finely chopped
1 Tsp dried Oregano
1 Tsp dried Basil
1 Pinch each of Salt and freshly cracked Pepper

1) Place the ricotta, the tomatoes and garlic in a small bowl.
2) Both the tomatoes and the garlic tend to stick together, so give everything a really good stir, until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
3) Add the dried herbs and pepper and stir again, until they’re well incorporated into. Don’t add any salt at this point – depending on the dried tomatoes you’re using you might not need to add any salt at all.
4) Set the bowl into the fridge for about an hour, then take it out again and place the bowl somewhere out of your way.
5) Around 15 mins after you’ve removed the herbed ricotta from the fridge, have a taste – have an extra tastebud on the lookout for the salt content – and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
6) Set the bowl aside and move on to prepping the other toppings.

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The „Colorful“ #2: Tomato & Basil Topping
4 (yellow) Cherry Tomatoes
1 (red) San Marzano Tomato
2 (purple) Kumato Date Tomatoes
10 Basil Leaves and/or a couple of Arugula leaves
20g Parmesan, coarsely grated
A pinch each of Salt and Pepper
Opt: 3-4 slices of Parma or Serrano Ham
Basically, you can replace any of those pretties with other types and colors of tomatoes. They don’t just look pretty in whatever shape or color they come in, they also have a huge variety of flavors, just waiting to be savored.

1) Slice the tomatoes into rounds, as thinly as possible without making them falling apart in the process.
2) Place them in a bowl or on a plate, sprinkle them with some salt and pepper and set them aside along with a small bowl filled with your grated parmesan.
3) Have a look at your basil – if the leaves are of the large variety, slice them into thin ribbons, if they’re small enough not to dwarf the base, leave them as they are and set them aside.

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The „Pizza“ Base… Tortilla? Quesadizza?… Pizza. End of discussion.

4 soft Corn Tortillas
50g Parmesan, finely grated

1) Place two tortillas on your work surface, next to each other.
2) Evenly spread out the parmesan on top of them, leaving an un-cheesed rim of about ½ a cm around the edges of the tortillas.
3) Place the second set of tortillas on top of them and allign the edges, gently pressing the layers together. Once they hit the pan, the parmesan will melt and fuse the two stacked tortillas together, adding an extra crunch to the base. Instant cheesy crust! Weee.
4) Lightly brush a small pan set on medium heat with a few drops of oil and carefully place your first tortilla stack inside.
If you have a pancake pan with a DIA just a little smaller than the DIA of the tortillas, perfect. The rims of the double-tortillas will be bent upwards a bit if you press them into the bend of the pan, forming a sort of wall to keep in the toppings. If you don’t have one of those, you’re going to have to leave a bit more space between your toppings and the rim of the tortillas to prevent any escape attempts.
5) Once the base is safely in the pan, give the parmesan 2-3 mins to start melting, then flip it over and firmly press it onto the base of the pan.
6) Pop a lid on to the pan and let the parmesan do it’s thing for 3-4 mins.
7) Remove the lid and evenly spread 1-2 tbsp of the ricotta cream on the tortilla. To make it easier, simply drop the ricotta right into the middle and brush it outward in a circular motion with the back of your spoon.
8) Place the lid back on for 2 mins, then remove it to arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle them with the parmesan… aaand pop the lid back on for another 2-3 mins, just enough time for the tomatoes to heat up.
9) Take the lid of again, carefully slide the „Pizza“ onto a cutting board or plate, scatter it with some basil and get the second one going.

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Assembling the Dish

1) Give the salad another toss, have a taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking if necessary.
2) Divide the salad into 2 bowls and drizzle it with the dressing remaining in the bowl, quarter the pizzas and voila, one crispy, colorful, veggie and summery dish saving the day~

Enjoy~!

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