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An Italian-style Tuscan vegetable salad is like a simple crudite platter. For an elegant appetizer, serve colorful fresh raw vegetables with good olive oil, salt and pepper.
This crunchy Italian salad is called pinzimonio in Tuscany. It’s such a simple salad that really show the essence of how Italians enjoy vegetables.
It might be too simple to believe (or even require a recipe!). It’s just fresh vegetables served raw, with nothing else but olive oil, salt and pepper.
My grandmother would put a similar salad on the table after the pasta and before the pastry, even in the dead of winter. She kept it very simple — usually it was a plate of trimmed celery stalks alongside a shallow dish of olive oil, salt and pepper.
It was a pretty humble snack, but I remember how I loved to dip the crunchy, cold celery into the saucer of oil, then into the salt and pepper, thinking how unlike a potato chip it was, but just as fun to eat.
This is the opposite of those raw “veggie” arrangements served on flimsy plastic trays along with a sloppy container of ranch dressing. I have memories of seeing those at potlucks and professional meet-and-greets and was never tempted.
You don’t need pristine farmer’s market or home-grown vegetables to assemble a raw vegetable plate.
But, one thing I insist: Grab that bottle of special extra-virgin olive oil you were planning to splurge on or were saving for something special. This is the time to use it!
Italian Raw Vegetable Salad
- 2 pounds assorted crunchy fresh vegetables, such as carrots, colorful bell peppers, small zucchini or summer squash, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, fennel or radishes
- Crushed ice
- Best quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky salt, such as Maldon or Diamond kosher
- Black peppercorns in a pepper mill
- Wash, peel and trim the vegetables as needed to make bite-sized pieces or matchsticks.
- Arrange the vegetables on a serving plate or large platter. To make them extra refreshing, put them in shallow bowls on top of some crushed ice.
- Set out small plates and allow each person to mix salt and fresh ground pepper in one, and some olive oil in another.
- Dip the vegetables in oil, then in the salt mixture. Eat.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The vegetables are best when crunchy, fresh and cold. Before serving, you can immerse vegetables in a large bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry before arranging on a platter.