If you can’t find the squashes here, try small zucchini and slice them crosswise. Zucchini blossoms can be replaced with a leafy green such as spinach.
- 1 generous handful fresh thyme sprigs (about 3/4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 baby zucchini (3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandolin
- 4 baby pattypan squashes (a mixture of yellow and green; 3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandolin
- 4 ounces mixed teardrop or cherry small tomatoes, cut in half crosswise (1 cup)
- 6 zucchini blossoms, halved or quartered if large
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- Coarsely ground pepper
- 3 ounces fresh ricotta (1/3 cup)
- Place thyme on a cutting board, and bruise with the dull edge of a knife. Place thyme and oil in a small saucepan. Cover. and heat over medium heat until small bubbles appear. Turn off heat, and steep thyme, covered, 20 minutes. Discard sprigs, leaving loose thyme leaves in oil. Whisk together lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons thyme oil (reserve remaining oil for another use; it can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks).
- Combine half the dressing with the zucchini, pattypan squashes, tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, basil, red-pepper flakes, and salt. Season with pepper, and toss. Divide half the salad between 2 plates, and dot with half the ricotta. Top with remaining salad and remaining ricotta. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and sprinkle with basil.