Farmer Lee Jones teaches us that at every stage of the plant's life, it offers something new and unique to the plate. This couldn’t be more true with any other vegetable like it is with the zucchini plant. The zucchini itself is really only a small percentage of the plant's total mass and it is in fact entirely edible.
In this dish we will make a pasta salad using every part of the plant. Stems, Leaves, Seeds, Fruits, and Blooms.
Aside from the pesto, the rest of the ingredients are raw and will marinate making them better with time. This salad will excel when prepped and assembled in advance.
Variations: if you don’t have a zucchini plant or a farmers market to shop at, we will offer a few substitutions throughout this recipe to assemble a delicious pasta salad of rigatoni, shaved zucchini, pesto, herbs and grated cheese.
The Whole Zucchini Salad
Chef Jamie Simpson
5 Squash Blossoms, cut or torn into individual petals
5 baby Zucchini, shaved thin
2 Lemons, juiced
10 Zucchini stems, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Flowering Herbs (fennel, basil, mint, lavender, rosemary, thyme)
1 cup Rigatoni, perfectly cooked
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
1 cup Olive oil
1 cup Blanched zucchini leaves, chopped (or kale)
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or parmesan)
Season aggressively, taste as you go
For the Salad
For the Pumpkin Seed Pesto
As you prep, combine all ingredients for the salad into a large bowl.
For the pesto, lightly fry the pumpkin seeds in olive oil until they start to crack. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor.
Process the zucchini leaves with the pumpkin seeds and olive oil.
Add the Romano cheese and salt. Adjust the texture by adding oil if needed.
Combine all of the pesto to the bowl and toss well.
Top with additional herbs or cheese if desired.