Zucchini slaw

Bright and refreshing.
Recipe: Zucchini slaw
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / July 13, 2009)

When you think slaw, you might think cabbage, or maybe you've even gone so far as to try slaws made from broccoli or carrots. But there's a big wide world of slaw possibilities out there, particularly in the summer, when so much produce is at its prime.

Zucchini slaw: Zucchini are great cooked, but they can be just as wonderful raw -- light and crisp with delicate flavor. Shred a couple (or more) pounds of zucchini. Dress it with a light sherry vinaigrette -- it's a bright vinegar with a lighter flavor that won't overpower the zucchini. Add some diced tomato; not only is the color vivid, but the soft tomato really emphasizes the crispness of the zucchini. And it's perfect served simply, with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts and fresh-shaved Parmigiano.

Daikon slaw: Because daikon is so bland, the choices of dressing and garnish are even more important. Combine the shredded radish with thinly sliced red onion and diced snow peas. Dress it with a rich but tangy sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing. Finish it with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds; the seeds' matte black finish is beautiful against the glossy white sheen of the dressed radish. Try tossing in some crunchy toasted peanuts, or even spicy wasabi peas.

Bell pepper and corn slaw: Or try crisp peppers. Few vegetables can match the vivid shades of bell peppers, and they make a perfect slaw with their mild, almost sweet flavor. Use a more assertive dressing for this because the peppers are so sweet. The earthy cumin and smoky chipotle pepper deepen the flavors. Finish the slaw with bright sweet corn kernels and chopped cilantro for a decidedly Southwestern feel. You can find the recipe below.

BELL PEPPER AND CORN SLAW

Total time: 35 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 6 to 8

    6 large bell peppers, assorted colors
    2 ears corn, shucked
    Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
    Zest of 1 lemon
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey, or to taste
    1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon chipotle or New Mexico chile powder, or to taste
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Core the peppers and cut them into lengthwise strips no thicker than one-eighth inch and about 2 1/2 inches long. Place the sliced pepper in a large bowl.

2. Slice the kernels off the corn, and toss them with the peppers.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, agave syrup, salt and chipotle powder to form a dressing. Taste and adjust to taste.

4. Pour the dressing over the peppers and toss well to coat completely. Stir in the cilantro and toss until evenly combined. This makes about 6 cups slaw.

5. Cover and refrigerate the pepper slaw at least 1 hour before serving. The slaw will keep for up to 2 days, refrigerated.

Each of 8 servings: 117 calories; 2 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 302 mg. sodium.

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