Summer Squash Agrodolce Salad

Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladSummer Squash the Italian Way – With a Sweet and Sour Dressing

The Italian term agrodolce (pronounced “agro-dolchay”) describes sweet and sour sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and sweetener (usually sugar). The name comes from “agro” (sour) and “dolce” (sweet). Summer Squash Agrodolce Salad is an unusual pairing. Traditionally agrodolce accompanies meats, pasta and cooked vegetables. Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladInstead, we’re tossing uncooked “noodles” of green and yellow summer squash and cucumbers with a perfectly balanced dressing of white wine vinegar, honey, a touch of garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. Thank you, Heidi Swanson, for this very flavorful agrodolce interpretation.

“Noodling”
This time of year anyone with a garden (and anyone with a friend or neighbor with a garden) has an abundance of summer squash. With my trusty new and very sharp peelers in hand, I’ve discovered “noodling.” That’s my word for peeling long, thin noodles with one peeler and wide flat ribbons with the other peeler.

Cut this way, summer squash shines, whether lightly sautéed or tossed uncooked in salads. Summer squash happily takes on the flavor of whatever dressing you toss it with. Although they soften enough for twirling with a fork, the squash noodles remain crisp and fresh tasting. A whole new way to enjoy summer squash.

Tips on “noodling” from my vast three months of experience.

  1. Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladPlace the squash or other vegetable (cucumber, carrots, daikon, asparagus, etc.) flat on a cutting board.
  2. Use the top half-inch or so of each vegetable as a “handle.”
  3. Hold onto the handle with one hand while you use the peeler in your other hand to slice noodles or ribbons.
  4. The center area with seeds (as with summer squash and cucumbers) doesn’t slice well. Add it to your morning smoothie, or slice it up with a knife. Use as another shape in your salad, or for another salad altogether.
  5. Don’t try to slice the handle with the peeler. The blade is exceptionally sharp. See step 4.

Do you love to cook? Enjoy exploring new cuisines? Want to improve your technique?
Join me in my upcoming fall class.

Savor the Foods, Flavors & Colors of Fall
Saturday, October 4 10:30-2:00
A vegetarian menu featuring make-ahead fall recipes.

Summer Squash Agrodolce Salad♥ Fig, Greek Olive & Walnut Tapenade
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk, Ginger & Lime
Peperonata (Italian Stewed Peppers) with Black Pasta (in time for Halloween)
Apples Baked in Apple Juice w/ Dried Cranberries

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Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladSummer Squash Agrodolce Salad

Inspired by and adapted from a Recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.
Her light touch created this well-balanced agrodolce dressing. Genius to pair it with summer squash. Use a julienne peeler or mandoline to make these thin, crisp summer squash “noodles.” Any slightly bitter salad green, such as radicchio, arugula or Belgian endive makes an especially flavorful contrast to the agrodolce dressing. Delicious leftovers.
Dairy and Gluten-free.

Makes 4 servings                                                         Printer-Friendly Recipe
Start to Finish 45 minutes

½ cup walnuts
½ medium purple onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white wine vinegarSummer Squash Agrodolce Salad
1 ¼ pounds green and yellow summer squash
1 small cucumber
3 tablespoons light, local honey
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 twists freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as mint, parsley, chives and/or cilantro
2 cups radicchio and green leaf lettuce or romaine, halved and sliced into about 1-inch pieces

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the walnuts for 6-7 minutes. Once the walnuts cool, chop them very coarsely.
  2. In a wide, flat bowl combine the thinly sliced onion with the white wine vinegar.
  3. Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladCut the summer squash into noodles with a julienne peeler or a mandoline. Place in a large bowl. Note: The center section with the seeds doesn’t slice well or hold together. Save it for your morning smoothies.
  4. Drain the vinegar from the sliced onion. You will have a little more than 3 tablespoons. Add the onion to the bowl with the squash.
  5. To make the dressing, place the vinegar drained from the sliced onion in a small saucepan. Add the honey, crushed garlic and salt. Over low heat, stir till combined. Remove from the heat to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the olive oil.
  6. Summer Squash Agrodolce SaladToss the squash and sliced onion with the dried cranberries and dressing. Sprinkle with the ground pepper. Adjust the salt to taste. Set aside while you prepare the herbs and salad greens.
  7. Just before serving, toss the noodles with two-thirds of the walnuts and half of the fresh herbs.
  8. Spread the radicchio and greens on the bottom of a large platter (or individual salad plates). Top with the squash mixture including some of the dressing. Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs and toasted walnuts.