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Zucchini & hazelnut salad

This is a great starter and pairs well with Dineen Viognier!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1.5 lbs small zucchini
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups mesclun mix
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan 
  • 2 tsp hazelnut oil (optional, you can substitute olive oil)
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 300° F. Scatter the hazelnuts over a baking sheet and roast for 12-14 minutes or until nicely browned. Let them cool down before chopping roughly or just crushing lightly with the side of a large knife.
  • Place a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and preheat for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, top and tail the zucchini and cut them into 1/8 inch slices. Place them in a bowl and toss with half of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Working in batches, place the zucchini slices in the hot grill pan and char-grill for about 2 minutes per side each side; turn them over using tongs. You want to achieve distinct char marks without over cooking the zucchini. Transfer to a mixing bowl and pour over the balsamic vinegar. Toss together and set aside.
  • Once the zucchini are cooled, add the remaining olive oil, the mesclun and hazelnuts. Mix lightly, taste and adjust the olive oil, salt and pepper accordingly. Transfer the salad to a flat plate, incorporating the Parmesan, and drizzle over the hazelnut oil (or more olive oil).