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Zucchini Carpaccio With Tomato Vinaigrette

zucchini carpaccio

Zucchini Carpaccio with tomato vinaigrette. Photo: Adele Lindsay

Cathy Whims is a chef who has created a procession of excellent Italian restaurants in Portland, Oregon throughout her career. She currently owns and operates her flagship, the nationally acclaimed Nostrana; Oven and Shaker, a pizza and cocktail spot with two Portland-area locations; and Enoteca Nostrana, a wine bar and special events space. She is also at work on her first cookbook, coming in 2025.Richard Martin

This is a Nostrana recipe that we've been doing for a long time in the summer when we start to get good zucchini from our farmers. Originally, we made a much simpler version, where it was just thinly sliced zucchini, olive oil, lemon juice, and shaved Parmiggiano. But we added a tomato vinaigrette, which takes it to a whole other level. 

It's a really intensely flavored vinegraitte. You take tomato paste and steep it in oil over the lowest flame. The tomato paste kind of cooks and it starts to turn the oil orange—it goes from a bright, deep red color to more of a red-orange color. It takes about 15 minutes and then you take it off the heat and let it cool. And it all kind of steeps together, though it doesn’t necessarily emulsify.

Then you add red wine vinegar, grated parm, and dried oregano, adding more strong flavors.

From there, the process is similar to the simple version of a zucchini carpaccio. I put some vinegraitte all over the bottom of a salad plate and then lay the zucchini slices on top in concentric circles, and then shave the parm over it. You can add other dried or fresh herbs, or even green onions when they’re in season.

Zucchini Carpaccio With Tomato Vinaigrette

Zucchini Carpaccio With Tomato Vinaigrette

Recipe by Cathy Whims
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Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Tomato Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove 1 garlic, mortared into a paste or minced very finely

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 red wine vinegar (see note)

  • 3/4 teaspoon 3/4 salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 dried Sicilian oregano

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano

  • For the Zucchini Carpaccio
  • 1 medium 1 zucchini, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 Tomato vinaigrette

  • ½ cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

  • ½ cup torn basil leaves


  • For the Tomato Vinaigrette
  • In a bowl, whisk together the tomato paste and olive oil until well combined and pour into a small heavy bottomed sauce pot or saute pan
  • Warm the mixture on low heat, stirring constantly, until the oil becomes warm and starts to turn orangey from the tomato. Continue to cook the mixture over very low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to meld together. Keep the temperature low to avoid browning or sticking.
  • Remove the tomato/oil infusion from the heat and let it cool.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, red wine vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
  • Whisk the cooled tomato-infused oil into the vinegar mixture.
  • Gradually whisk in the remaining ½ cup of fresh olive oil (start with a ¼ cup and add more adding more to taste, depending on the acidity level - you might not need to add the entire ½ cup).
  • Taste the vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning and balance as needed. Add more salt, olive oil, or vinegar if desired. The texture will be quite thick, if you prefer a thinner consistency, whisk in a little water.
  • During tomato season, you can also blend in some roasted, peeled, and crushed tomatoes for added flavor.
  • Allow the vinaigrette to sit for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together. It will improve over time. You will likely have some leftover vinaigrette which will keep in the fridge for about a week. It’s great as a dip for whole steamed artichokes or as a spread on a sandwich.
  • To assemble
  • Spread 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette evenly over the base of a large plate or platter.
  • Next arrange the zucchini slices evenly on top of the vinaigrette, making sure to cover the entire surface area of the platter.
  • Gently spoon/drizzle remaining over the zucchini.
  • Arrange the shaved parmigiano and torn basil leaves over the zucchini in a decorative manner. Serve with crusty bread to mop up all of the delicious vinaigrette.


  • We like to use Katz Late Harvest Zinfandel Vinegar for this recipe, a sweet and sour vinegar that works great with the tomato flavor. A pinch of sugar or spoonful of honey can help balance out more acidic, less fruity vinegars.

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