This recipe I’ve encountered in a Catalan village, so simple but highly surprising. We don’t get to see zucchinis uncooked… but it’s actually a pretty good raw veggie. There is a nice crunch to it and it’s got a soft taste that allows the extra-virgin olive oil to shine. Such a beautiful and simple appetizer, all you’ll need is a mandoline or a talent to cut really finely the zucchinis. You would think the protagonist food here is the zucchini, but it isn’t, it’s the olive oil! It’s the perfect meal to taste a delicate and fresh olive oil.
Olive oil… there is so much to say about it, I don’t know where to start. First let’s say, I secretly think it’s the secret to a long life, and the statistic say that spaniards are the second longest living population after Japon… I think it’s due in big part to olive oil. There is all kind of colors, from light golden to green, depending of the maturity and type of olive used. But the color means nothing when it come to the quality of an olive oil, it’s all in the taste. It’s also qui a big world, similar to wine, it get better years than others.
There is so many types of olive oil, in Spain alone there is 262 varieties. In Catalonia, it’s the famous Arbequina olives that is mostly used to produce olive oil. The Arbequina is quite a small olive in itself although it’s got the highest concentrations of oil. It’s a delicate and fruity olive oil, but it tend to oxidize more easily than other varieties. So you need to keep it cool and in the dark to keep it long.
So get that good bottle of olive oil out and that mandoline!
Carpaccio de zucchini
Makes 4 appetizer portions
few cherry tomatoes
good extra-virgin olive oil
black salt (or normal)
Simply cut super finely the zucchini with a mandoline
Omg! those are sooo pretty, but they taste pretty much the same as normal white potato chips, with perhaps an extra nuttiness to it… It’s actually a variety of potato called “Vitelotte” originally from Peru. I did some research and apparently the purple potato is an excellent antioxidant, helps lower blood pressure and has that same famous compound also found in blueberries and pomegranates, anthocyanin. A cancer killer and immunity booster! So jump on those chips!
Frying with olive oil isn’t unhealthy… that’s a myth. How else would you explain that Spanish people are the 2nd healthiest and longest living population on earth? They are the biggest consumer of olive oil and they love to fry, confit, marinade and just eat it plain with bread with it… it’s everywhere! The most important is not to over heat the olive oil when frying with it, never over 190C° (375F) for extra-virgin olive oil. But most people use the cheapest version with simple virgin oil and then you can reach 230C° (446F) without problems. Also, olive oil tends to lose most of it’s taste when cooking, but not it’s healthy antioxidant properties. I’ve also learned that this oil is great to fry because apparently it doesn’t infiltrate the vegetable has much as other frying oils (sunflower, canola etc). You can fry up to 4 times with the same oil before it’s no longer good. Between uses, you should filter it in a metallic sieve to which you add a paper towel! It cleans it right up! Oh, and don’t forget to put it in the trash and not into the sink.
Vitelotte (purple potatoes) as many as you want
Virgin olive oil
Put the oil in a small sauce pan or fritter, to 3/4 of the top, bring to 190-200 C° (375F) or until you put the corner of one chip and hear it sizzle
Cut the peeled or simply washed potatoes in fine slices with a mandoline. (do not wash them once cut)
Add a few chips at the time. You can wait like a minute or so until almost no bubbles appear (this means the water is out)
Put on paper towel and add a splash of salt
Let rest 1 minute before serving
Enjoy! Serve chips alone or as a pretty side dish since they are incredibly good looking!