If you can’t find the squashes here, try small zucchini and slice them crosswise. Squash 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 mandoline
- 4 baby pattypan squashes (a mixture of yellow and green; 3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandoline
- 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.