Do you have situations in your life when you meet someone out of your ordinary daily routine and you learn something new? People you usually wouldn’t come across, but when you do, they manage to surprise you with a new thought, action or opinion that just expands your world in some way?
We just spent the weekend at my friend Laura’s house and I was thinking about this. Especially in light of recent events in the world, with endless news cycles in every language and medium suggesting ‘solutions’. None of which ever seem very valid.
We’re often guests at Laura’s house, and thoroughly enjoy her warm friendship, gracious hospitality and copious amounts of good food, wine and cocktails. But this weekend she had another guest, a Domenican priest. And. Well. I’m not sure how your life goes, but mine rarely involves just hanging out with someone from an monastic order. Anyway, all this to say that although we didn’t solve any of the worlds problems (nor even really the tension between the two slightly aggressive dogs who were also house guests) we did have lots of long conversations that, well, just opened my mind that much more.
And that, I think, is what is missing in conversations about how to solve the worlds problems. Exposure to other types of humans, from other walks of life, different from your own. Curiosity about those different from yourself goes a long way towards banishing fear. And fear is the real foe these days, no?
Don’t worry. I’m not going to ramble on about politics and general world malaise. My main point I guess is that being open and curious is always a good thing. Even when you’re talking about food. Actually, especially when you’re talking about food.
This weekend I not only expanded by philosophical outlook, I also managed to come away with a new zucchini recipe.
See. I told you. It’s always leading to food.
Once again, Paola, the woman who helps Laura cook at her house taught me something new. This time she invited us over to her own house on Saturday and she served us this simple, but delicious, zucchini salad. And at this point in the summer I’m sure you are looking for new ways to deal with zucchini, right? The very next day, back at Laura’s house, I headed out into the garden and gathered the ingredients to make my own.
The zucchini get marinated in lemon juice and salt, which softens them so that they lose that raw taste and texture. They are then tossed with spicy arugula and drizzled with olive oil. My own addition was fresh oregano leaves and flowers, which I think added depth. But feel free to experiment. Add a bit of feta or ricotta salata and it becomes a meal in itself.
- 4 small zucchini (the small ones work best)
- 1 large bunch arugula, washed
- 1 small bunch of purslane, just the leaves
- juice from one lemon
- olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves and/or flowers
- After washing the zucchini slice them as thin as you can. Place in a bowl and toss with juice from one lemon and salt. Stir and let sit for at least an hour.
- In the meantime wash the arugula, removing any tough stems and place on a small platter.
- Do the same with the purslane
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the zucchini and place on top (after they have marinated). Drizzle with olive oil and toss, adding the oregano. Season to taste.
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