Celebrity Chefs Recipes: Jen Biesty’s Shaved Summer Squash Salad

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Photos: Vic Chin, Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco

This is my go-to summer salad. It’s simple, easy, delicious and full of great textures. You could even grow some of your own squash as it only takes a little plot of garden...and it’s so cool to pick your own veggies.

I ate this dish on my very first trip to Spain way back in the early 90’s in a little tapas bar on a tiny street in Barcelona, and I’ve been making variations of it ever since. The one ingredient that you must choose carefully are boquerones...little white pickled Spanish anchovies. They are essential to this dish and even people who don’t like anchovies love boquerones. If you can’t find them prepared, you can make your own with locally caught anchovies marinated in a little white wine vinegar.

A hunk of fresh bread with dishes of boquerones and a glass of sherry or wine are probably the ingredients that motivated me to create Shakewell, my restaurant in Oakland. As a chef, you end up cooking all sorts of food from many lands and I’ve made a lot of Italian, French and American dishes. But I love Spain and Spanish food — the clean flavors, the simplicity — and when I opened my own place, it had to be making food from the Iberian Peninsula. At Shakewell, we always have our own boquerones on the menu, marinated with olives and served with grilled bread.

A warm night, friends, glasses of wine and a big bowl of this salad will make your friends happy, and you will be loved forever!

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Makes about 4 servings

Shaved squash salad with boquerones.
Shaved squash salad with boquerones. (Vic Chin)

Ingredients:

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Vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 pound summer squash such as zucchini, patty pan, Ronde de Nice, Gold Bar, or whatever squash you fancy that looks nice at the market.
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil croutons (see recipe below)
  • 16 Spanish boquerones or marinated white anchovies
  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the honey and vinegar and whisk until the honey has dissolved.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the squash.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the squash and tomato halves and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and set aside for 5 minutes before adding the basil leaves, half the parmesan, olives and croutons. Toss to coat all of the ingredients with the vinaigrette.
  5. Arrange on a serving platter or plate, add more shaved cheese and arrange the boquerones on top. Serve immediately.
Chef Jen Biesty with her shaved squash salad with boquerones.
Chef Jen Biesty with her shaved squash salad with boquerones. (Vic Chin)

Olive Oil Croutons

Makes 2 cups

  • ¼ loaf of country bread such as pain au levain, sweet batard or sourdough
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Remove the crust from the loaf and, using your hands, pull apart the bread to make roughly shaped pieces that are about the size of a cherry.
  3. Place the bread in a mixing bowl and generously drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well so that it is saturated evenly.
  4. Dump the croutons onto a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown and toasted. Let cool.

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