Zucchini with ajo blanco dressing and spiced nuts

Zucchini with ajo blanco dressing and spiced nuts

Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads
Jacqui Melville

Over the last few years I have started to love zucchini, but I have to admit that by the end of the season, it’s like, ‘Not another bloody zucchini!’ That said, this is one of the joys of eating seasonally – anticipation and excitement at the start of the season, despair and overload at the end.


Quantity Ingredient
600g mixed heirloom zucchini, cut into random pieces
120ml extra-virgin olive oil
15g hazelnuts, chopped
15g blanched almonds, chopped
15g walnuts, chopped
pinch smoked paprika
pinch salt flakes
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, washed and chopped
1 small handful mint, washed and chopped

Ajo blanco dressing

Quantity Ingredient
75g white bread, crusts removed
115g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
110ml extra-virgin olive oil
75ml water, ice-cold


  1. For the dressing, first soak the bread in water for 5 minutes. Drain the bread, then place in a blender with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Gradually add the cold water and blend on high for 30 seconds, or until a smooth purée forms. Add salt flakes to taste, then set aside in a bowl until serving time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, and heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to high, until slightly smoky.
  3. Coat the cut sides of the zucchini pieces with 80 ml of the olive oil. Place them on the chargrill and cook them, turning now and then, until they are branded all over. Place on a baking tray and finish off in the oven for another 3–5 minutes – you want to cook them through, but leave a bit of texture and crunch to the zucchini. Once cooked, set aside and keep warm.
  4. Place the nuts and remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and warm through until fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a bowl, then season with the paprika and salt flakes to taste.
  5. To assemble the dish, place the warm zucchini in a large mixing bowl, along with the herbs and nuts and stir gently to combine. Season with salt flakes to taste, and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
  6. Dollop most of the dressing around the bottom of your serving dish, then arrange the zucchini salad on top. If desired, drizzle some more dressing on top, for that creamy, nutty flavour and texture.
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