Sandwich simply showcases first summer squash

Over Fourth of July weekend spent at the coast, I apologetically told my mom that my garden hadn’t produced much yet in the way of fresh veggies to share with her. True, there were scallions, garlic and some kale. But the first flush of snow peas had subsided in recent heat, which still wasn’t enough to prod squashes and nightshades to ripeness.

But what should greet me upon returning home than the summer’s first zucchini and Japanese eggplant. Eeeek! Although lamenting the lack of veggies, I wasn’t sure that I was ready for three solid months of summer squash in and on top of EVERYTHING!

Before I turn to trickier tactics of disguising it for squash-weary palates, the first zucchini does seem something of a treat. And the first dish should be a pure celebration of zucchini, cooked until just tender and enhanced with citrus and fresh herbs. Hence, my recent pitch to grill veggies for sandwiches on ciabatta smeared with lemony-garlicky aioli. The kids could have hot dogs.

Here’s a similar approach from the Chicago Tribune that piles ribbons of grilled zucchini on top of grilled bread slathered with ricotta. In the absence of good-quality ricotta, I’d opt for that aioli.

Tribune News Service photo

Summer Sandwich

About 1/2 cup olive oil

1 fat garlic clove, peeled and mashed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 small (1/2-pound) zucchini

2 slices country or sourdough bread

Pour the oil into a small bowl. Drop in the garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta, thyme and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Trim the zucchini. Use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips.

Brush the bread on both sides with seasoned oil. Paint zucchini strips on both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Prepare a medium-hot grill. Grill bread and zucchini strips over direct heat until bread is crunchy and zucchini is bright green at edges and striped with grill marks, for about 2 minutes per side.

Set bread on each of 2 plates. Schmear bread with ricotta. Top with grilled zucchini. Grind on more pepper and drizzle with a bit of oil. Munch.

Makes 2 open-face sandwiches.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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