I would hazard a guess than owning a zucchini spiraliser would put me in the minority of the population, but it was worth the investment to make this salad alone. If you don’t have one, you can still make it using a julienne peeler or a normal peeler to shave ribbons off the zucchini. In any event, the zucchini is only the base for the star pangrattato. Pangrattato is essentially toasted breadcrumbs. I have added a few spices and herbs to make it unbelievably delicious, but the defining factor is the crunch is gives to whatever you use it for. And its uses are many and varied – sprinkle it over roasted veggies, add it to salads, use it as a topping for soup or pasta, put it in sandwiches or wraps or even eat it straight out of the bowl (warning, it is hard to stop after one spoonful). The only thing to keep in mind is that as soon as it comes into contact with moisture (i.e. salad dressing), the lovely crunchiness rapidly starts to fade, so sprinkle it on just before serving. I like to put half over the zucchini and the other half in a jar on the table for people to add more while they are eating.
Zucchini Salad with Crunchy Pangrattato
1/2 tspn fennel seeds
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
2 tbspns olive oil
1 heaped cup sourdough breadcrumbs *
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3 sage leaves, finely sliced
zest of 1 lemon
sea salt flakes
3 or 4 zucchini, spiralised or julienned
2 tbspn mint leaves, shredded
3 tbspn olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
For pangrattato heat olive oil in a large pan. Add all ingredients and toss until golden and crunchy (this takes about 5 minutes). Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Set aside to cool and crispen.
For zucchini salad, place zucchini in a dish, top with mint leaves, oil and lemon juice and season with salt. Toss to combine.
To serve, top salad with pangrattato literally the second before serving.
*To make sourdough breadcrumbs, cut the crusts of day old bread. Cut the bread into cubes and place in a food processor and process to crumbs. If you have more than you need, you can freeze the extra in a snap lock bag and use the next time you want to make pangrattato or whenever you need breadcrumbs.