Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling: Thom Driver
Erik Anderson uses lardo for part of the fat in the dressing. It's seasoned and cured pork fat somewhat similar to bacon. Find it at specialty markets or at almagourmet.com. Or substitute an equal amount of rendered bacon fat (16 ounces chopped bacon will yield the 3.5 ounces needed for this recipe). Anderson also uses sweet and sour teardrop chiles, which are a cross between a jalapeño and a cherry pepper. If you can't find them, substitute mild pickled peppadews. This salad is easily doubled. To do so, use 2 large skillets to simultaneously cook zucchini batches so the dish is done in the same amount of time.
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1/2 cup)
1. Combine lardo and 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until fat is melted and any meat bits are crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar, celery, 6 chiles, sugar, and lemon. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reserve 6 tablespoons vinaigrette (store remaining vinaigrette refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks).
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add half of zucchini; cook, without stirring, 4 minutes or until zucchini is charred. Toss gently; cook 30 more seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and zucchini.
3. Reheat reserved 6 tablespoons vinaigrette over medium heat; pour over zucchini. Add oregano, next 4 ingredients (through pepper), and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss. Transfer to a serving dish; top with Parmesan and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chiles.