Zucchini Carpaccio with Cashew Squash Blossoms
CHEF + CULINARY STYLIST ASHTON KEEFE SHARES A SIMPLE YET ELEGANT RECIPE THAT CELEBRATES THE FRESHNESS OF FALL
This weekend, gather a few friends for an intimate dinner party and welcome in autumn's abundance, set intentions with loved ones, and pour yourself a generous glass of whatever you like. Plus, we tapped culinary artist and chef, Ashton Keefe, to create the main course:
"As a chef, the kitchen is my epicenter for creating joy. And while I always enjoy the experience, there are a few times each year when I find it’s truly magical to practice what I preach and eat exclusively in-season food. Case in point: harvest time.
The below recipe is inspired from some of my summer excursions—to Spain, the California coast, out east & down south—and the back-to-school energy I can’t help but feel this time of year. Plus, September and October offer a bounty both of the summer’s best produce and the first crops of fall.
If I were to be compared to any dish, I’d want it to be this one... It might look fancy but at its core, is incredibly approachable and simple. This is one of those dishes that looks wildly decadent while being loaded with vitamin A, C, folate, and fiber. Better yet, yellow squash is rich in magnesium, an important mineral that aids in bone health and provides natural anti-anxiety benefits. Use squash and/or zucchini along with their gorgeous blossoms before the season runs out (although you can continue to get these through November!) and then switch to raw beets as we approach winter. The trick is to allow the vegetables to sweat out after seasoning them with salt.
Here’s to getting back into routines and creating beautiful and pleasurable at-home dining.
Zucchini Carpaccio with Cashew Squash Blossom
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ zucchini, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- ½ squash, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon
Place pine nuts in the middle of a large plate and cover them with olive oil. Pick up the plate with both hands and swirl the olive oil and nuts until they coat the surface. Shingle the zucchini and squash in an overlapping, circular pattern, and salt. Allow it to sit for a few minutes until you see moisture release from the vegetables, then squeeze the lemon over the entire plate. Top with blossoms.
- 12-ounce raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ reserved water from soaked cashews
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 squash blossoms, stamen removed
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 cup cold sparkling water
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the cashew cheese: In a food processor, combine cashews, tahini, water, salt, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Use as is or strain through a fine-mesh strainer for extra smooth cheese. (Makes 2 cups.) Place the desired amount of cheese in each blossom (I recommend approximately 2 tablespoons).
For the blossom dredge: In a medium bowl, whisk together rice flour, sparkling water, baking powder and salt.
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Dunk each filled blossom in the batter and transfer to the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Remove and place on top of zucchini and squash.