Fig & Olive Dishes Up Their Zucchini Carpaccio
One of the perks of being a food writer is getting a behind-the-scenes look at how mouthwatering recipes are prepared.
Unfortunately, I’m often appalled by (and would probably rather not know about) the unsavory ingredients lurking within some my favorite dishes.
But when you do find a restaurant that actually creates their impeccable dishes using solely healthy, whole food, it’s a rare and delicious treat.
Recently, I was invited to a 4-course cooking class at the popular L.A. spot, Fig & Olive, hosted by the restaurant’s famed Chef Pascal Lorange.
I’d eaten there before, and knew the food was amazing. I also knew they claimed to use light, healthy ingredients, but of course I remained skeptical.
By the end of the meal, I couldn’t have been more impressed.
The first thing that struck me was when Chef Pascal told us that they rarely use butter in their recipes. Extra virgin olive oil, a wide variety of it, is at the core of every dish.
It was at that moment that I knew we would get on famously (the food and I, that is).
We started off the class with the recipe I’m going to share with you today: Zucchini Carpaccio.
The extraordinary thing about this dish is just how simple it really is.
You start with thinly sliced zucchini rounds, then sprinkle with pine nuts, then — well — I’ll let you see for yourself:
Quick & Easy Zucchini Carpaccio
1 lb Zucchini, thinly sliced
(Pascal used a Japanese Mandoline Slicer)
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
6 T. Shaved Low-Fat Parmesan
4 T. Toasted Pine Nuts
Sea Salt & Pepper to Taste
1. Arrange zucchini slices in a pretty pattern.
2. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together. Drizzle over zucchini.
3. Top with cheese, nuts, and salt & pepper.
4. Serve & enjoy!
I could seriously eat plates of this, and actually, it wouldn’t be a problem. This is one of the healthiest — yet tasty and also visually pleasing — appetizers I’ve had.
I’m totally making this for my next dinner party.
Apps were followed by a refreshing Cold Cucumber Soup and the main event, Stripped Bass Papillote with farmers market vegetables.
I can honestly say, I can’t remember having a more succulent fish.
The magic is in the preparation.
You place the fish on a bed of vegetables marinated in olive oil and lemon juice, then wrap the whole thing in parchment paper and bake it.
Brilliant. If you beg me, I might share this recipe too. . . maybe.
The culminating moment of the meal though was when I laid eyes on the dessert.
Have you ever seen a more tempting tart in your life?
The Caramelized Apple Tart with Rosemary Ice cream was sheer perfection. Even after realizing this was one of the few dishes that does contain butter, I still shoveled it down in a mere two minutes. It was that good.
Luckily, the rest of the meal was so light and wholesome that I didn’t feel bad about my brush with butter.
Fig & Olive has four locations in New York, the one near me on Melrose, and they just opened a new restaurant in Newport Beach.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking — The Real Housewives of Orange County are totttttally going to be blowing up their spot (although I doubt management will put up with any drink throwing).
I hope you’ll try the Zucchini Carpaccio for your at-home entertaining needs this summer, and if you’re near a Fig & Olive, pop in and try the Papillote. You won’t regret it.
And if you want to try one of Fig & Olive’s famous extra virgin olive oils at home, you can buy them online here.