This recipe comes to us from the authors of several fascinating books on food philosophy, John Thorne and Matt Lewis Thorne. You can subscribe to their bimonthly food newsletter called "Simple Cooking". Find them online at "www.OutlawCook.com".
They write, "This unusual and rather dramatic sandwich is based on a dish Loomis sampled at Da Mino, a small restaurant in the center of Robbio, a farming town in Lombardy. The chef, Enrica Abbatte, calls it a carpaccio vegetale (vegetable carpaccio) and serves it as a layered salad. What made me think of using it—adapted as follows—as a sandwich topping was its unique pickle-like crispness combined with an unexpected succulence—not something that comes directly to mind with raw zucchini, red pepper, and a green such as watercress. (Abatte makes it with arugala, but to my palate the cress, although equally sharp, is more in balance with the other ingredients.) Quite simply, it’s a knock-out."
The day before: Put the sliced vegetables and watercress in a large bowl. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste, but be generous with the salt and hot red pepper. Toss the contents of the bowl with this, making sure that none of the zucchini rounds have clumped together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The following day: Remove the marinating vegetables from the refrigerator about an hour before making the sandwiches. Then, retoss the salad and divide it among the sandwiches, including all the juices. Layer each with a fair share of the shaved cheese.
The simplest way to get paper-thin shavings of Parmesan is to use a vegetable peeler.
Adapted from Susan Hermann Loomis’s "Italian Farmhouse Cookbook".
This recipe was provided by John Thorne a from Northhampton