This salad is a lovely way to celebrate zucchini at its tender best (don't attempt this recipe with larger, more mature specimens). Served raw, brightly fresh young zucchini has a sweet flavour and delightfully creamy mouth-feel and is a perfect companion to the milky fresh mozzarella; the olives and anchovies provide a flavour-filled counterpoint. Pair with a grilled steak or pile onto thick slices of sourdough toast and drape with prosciutto to serve as a snack or starter.
45-50g can top-quality anchovies, drained
4 small to medium zucchini, trimmed
4 zucchini flowers
salt flakes and fresh black pepper
juice of 1½ lemons
100ml extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch mint, leaves picked, large ones torn
100g dried black olives, pitted and torn
1 large ball buffalo mozzarella
1. Blot the excess oil from the anchovies with a paper towel, then lie them in a dry frying-pan. Place over a low to medium heat and slowly dehydrate, breaking them up as they dry out (this should take about 5-10 minutes). Once powdery, set aside to cool.
2. Using a mandoline, shave the zucchini into 2mm-thick ribbons and place in a large bowl.
3. Open out the zucchini flowers, tear each into four and add to the bowl. Season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, then squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle over half the oil and toss to coat. Set aside for a couple of minutes to marinate.
4. Toss the mint and olives through the salad and tip onto a serving platter.
5. Tear the buffalo mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the salad. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining half-lemon, then crumble over the anchovy dust. Finish with a drizzle of the remaining oil.