Category Archives: salad

squash puttanesca cruda

squash puttanesca cruda
It’s that time again! To embark on a few dishes from the fabulous menu at, sponsored this month by This is an adaptation of Joan’s recipe at, you can check out her post at . She brilliantly chose to you spaghetti squash in her recipe, absolutely delicious! 
Thanks to Kitchen Play’s Progressive Party menus, I was one of the proud recipients of last months 6 prizes! A fun site for food bloggers with a number of exciting challenges with chances to win cool prizes and money. This month’s sponsor, Lindsay Olive’s, are a 100 year old California family business producing high quality, delicious olives in the sunny central part of the state.

This is a fantastic salad that was a breeze to put together. Depending on your preference, you can use any kind of green as your accompanying lettuce. I started by filling endive spears but i find out of season endive a bit bitter so I ended up using tender bibb lettuce. Both make great receptacles for the chunky puttanesca, but this is so good, you don’t even need lettuce.

Classically a puttanesca sauce, (literal translation worthless/garbage or aka whore), contains tomato, olives, capers, anchovy, oregano, onion and chili flake and traditionally the sauce is simmered then tossed with pasta. Historians claim it was invented near Naples in a late night scramble to serve guests in a restaurant in the 1950’s. The cook only had a few basic ingredients left in the pantry and threw this together, later putting it on the menu.

For this recipe, we are incorporating these same ingredients into a raw salad. The term cruda is the feminine form of crudo, which in terms of food indicates raw or uncooked. I’ve always associated crudo with raw fish marinated with citrus and olive oil, but the term can be applied in any regard, with vegetables and/or protein. 

the ingredients
tomato, caper, onion, olives, anchovy, summer squash
small diced
Creating an uncooked version of this dish, I had to incorporate the ingredients in a slightly modified way. The two cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp chili flake, and 1 Tbsp oregano naturally become part of the vinaigrette. To these ingredients olive oil and red wine vinegar are added, making about 2-3 Tbsp of dressing (in a ratio of your liking). I tend to use a higher amount of olive oil as too much vinegar might drown out the raw freshness of the vegetables. And because there is no heat or cooking applied, I used a bit less garlic than usual. Putting it through a garlic press, reduced the final amount to only about 2 tspn. 
garlic, fresh oregano, chili flake, olive oil, red wine vinegar
toss ingredients together
The salad ingredients include 1 C tomato, 1 fresh (uncooked) summer squash, 1/4 of a red onion, 3 anchovy fillets and 1/2 C Lindsay black olives, all chopped to a small dice. Add 2 Tbsp of capers then combine with the vinaigrette. Toss thoroughly and set aside while you clean and dry your lettuces.
I thought it fun to serve this tangy, savory crudo in self contained vessel. Endive are perfect for this dish, using the versatile, sturdy leaves as boats, they can stand up to any hearty filling. Though sometime it can be bitter, using the tender leaves of a bibb lettuce can be an alternative.
serve as a dinner salad…
…or as a brunch/ midday snack
The flavors of this salad are bright, tangy, briny and fantastic. Garnish with fresh oregano but don’t season with salt until you taste the crudo mixture, the anchovy, caper and olives all provide a good amount of salt on their own. The zucchini provided a great crunch to the salad as did the red onion. This was so tasty that I could see it spooned on top an omelet, used as a topping on bruschetta or as an accoutrement for a whole baked fish. As a garnish, I speared all the main components which turned into a great amuse bouche or passed appetizer. 
flavor party! I ended up eating all 6 spears after the salad

If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out the Progressive Party menu at This months menu was brought to you by the lovely folks at
Check back in a couple of days, I’ll be writing about Olive/ Rosemary French Toast Sandwiches with goat cheese and black olive honey!!


Filed under anchovy, caper, olive, puttanesca, salad, squash