Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon & Basil

This incredibly fresh side from Alice Waters’ Art of Simple Food II is seasoned with just the right amount of fragrant basil and zesty lemon.

Ingredients:
2-3 small zucchini, ends removed
¼ bunch basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Slice the zucchini into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. (A mandolin makes this easier, but you can also use a vegetable peeler.)

2. Stack the basil leaves, and cut them thinly crosswise.

3. Layer the squash slices into a shallow dish. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper, basil, lemon juice and olive oil. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and serve.

Variations: Try grating the zucchini instead, or use other herbs, like mint, cilantro, or chervil with the basil.

Charred Green Bean Salad

This simple, satisfying salad courtesy of chef Michael Symon always gets rave reviews!

Ingredients:
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sliced toasted almonds
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Prepare a grill for indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, build the hot coals on one side only. If using a gas grill, heat one side only to medium-high heat.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook at a rapid boil until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the green beans to an ice bath, then dry on a kitchen towel.

3. Add the green beans to a grill basket and place over indirect heat to char them slightly, about 5 minutes. You do not have to cover the grill. When they reach the char level you are looking for, transfer them to a serving platter.

4. Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard and oregano in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly, then season with salt and pepper. Pour the oregano vinaigrette over the green beans while still warm, then sprinkle with the feta and almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sautéed Broccolini

Tangy lemon zest, fresh garlic and creamy butter enhance the natural sweet flavor of broccolini in this recipe from Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten.

Ingredients:
1 bunch broccolini
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Method:
1. Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the lemon zest and garlic and stir. Drain the broccolini and add it to the garlic mixture and heat for 2 minutes.

3. Add the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and toss well before serving.

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Braised Carrots with Greek Yogurt & Fresh Mint

This gorgeous side dish is freshened up with creamy yogurt and fragrant mint.

Ingredients:
1 bunch carrots, greens removed and reserved for another use, then peeled and cut into large matchsticks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely-chopped mint

Method:
1. Melt butter in a large heavy sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, cover, and braise, stirring occasionally, until carrots are fork-tender, 20–30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle carrots with lemon juice and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and finish the dish with a healthy scoop of sheep’s milk yogurt and scattered mint over the top.

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