Tag Archives: zucchini

Courgette Frittata / Zucchini Frittata

Plated courgette frittataCourgette (aka Zucchini) Frittata

Recently, I’ve been seeing piles of squash arriving in at the local farmers market.  This means, it’s time to bring out those recipes that use zucchini (also known as courgettes) to use up this year’s crop.  I found this recipe in a British magazine when I was living there, but I’m not sure where my copy of it got to in all my changes of households over the years.  At some point, I’d tweaked it and modified it so much that I might have even tossed out the original instructions.  Now, I just recreate it from memory whenever I have a craving for it.

Courgette frittata with berries & smoked salmonFrittata with Smoked Salmon and Berries

Having picked up a bag of mixed zucchini (courgettes) and summer squash at the Greenmarket this week, along with a dozen eggs and cheddar cheese from one of my favorite stands, I knew that I was going to put this together for brunch over the holiday weekend.  I also snapped up a couple of sets of red and black raspberries to add to the dish as a garnish.  This frittata is terrific to serve on the breakfast side or the lunch side of brunch, so adding a green salad would also work, too.

Courgette frittata portioned outCourgette frittata portioned out

This recipe would be great to make for a picnic, as well.  It doesn’t need to be served scorching hot; room temperature will do.  It also packs up well to pop in the oven or microwave to reheat for a quick and easy meal on the go, as you’re running out the door to get to work (or even when you are already there before answering the a.m. barrage of emails and phone calls).  One of the reasons this is in my keeper file is that it is not only delicious, but flexible and quick and easy to make.  It’s a good option for those Breakfast for Dinner nights, too.

IngredientsIngredients

Courgette Frittata / Zucchini Frittata

Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Serving size: 4-6 people (depends upon how big you’d like the portions to be)

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized Courgettes / Zucchini (dark and/or light green),

3 oz. (75 g) Cheddar Cheese, white, mild (not extra-sharp)

5 Eggs, large (can also use 2 whites and 3 whole eggs)

1 pinch Salt

1/4 tsp. (1-2 g) Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp (30 g) Shallot, finely minced (about 1 medium shallot)

1 Tbsp (15 g) Unsalted Butter

1 tsp. (5 g) Olive Oil

Assembly:

Grating courgettesGrating courgettes (zucchini)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Centigrade / Gas Mark 4).  Trim the end of the courgettes (zucchini) and move them cross-wise on the large holes of a box grater to create large shredded pieces.  Stop just before you get to the end of the courgettes (zucchini), as you don’t want to use that part (like the photo above).  You should end up with around 200 grams (or 8 ounces or 1 packed cup) of vegetables.  Squeeze the courgette (zucchini) using cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel (or your hands – I usually do it that way) over the sink until most of the water is gone from it.  Set it aside.

Prepped ingredientsPrepped ingredients

Grate the cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater.  Put that to the side until ready to mix with the courgettes (zucchini).  Chop the shallots very finely.  Also set that aside until ready to cook them.  You’ll end up with separate piles of the ingredients ready to be combined with the eggs.

Egg whites & yolks separatedEgg whites and yolks separated

The next step is a bit of a fussy one, but it’s one that I use when making omelets as well, too.  I separate the egg whites from the yolks (darn – there’s always that one yolk that falls apart!).  Then, I whisk the yolks until they are smooth and creamy.  Into the egg yolks, I add the shredded courgettes (zucchini) and cheddar cheese along with the salt and pepper.  Stir to combine all these ingredients.

Egg whites - whiskedWhisked egg whites

Whip up the egg whites until they are light and frothy.  They should not get anywhere near the meringue stage, just agitated enough to break down the structure of the whites and make them more liquid and fluffy.

Courgette mixture combined w egg whitesFrittata ingredients combined

Pour the courgette (zucchini) mixture into the egg whites.  Gently fold in the courgette mixture until it is thoroughly combined with the egg whites.

Shallots cookingShallots cooking in butter and oil

Place a 23 cm / 10-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove over low to medium heat.  Put butter and olive oil in the skillet so that the butter melts and the liquid combines with the oil.  Add the shallots and cook until they are softened, about 1-2 minutes.

Frittata on stovetopFrittata cooking on stovetop

Pour in the frittata ingredients.  Very quickly give a couple of gentle stirs to combine the shallots and butter/oil into the courgette (zucchini) mixture so that they are incorporated with the vegetables, cheese, and eggs.  Leave the frittata alone to cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes until the frittata is mostly set but still wet and jiggling a bit in the middle, like with a custard.

Courgette frittata out of the ovenFrittata out of the oven

Put the pan into the oven and let the frittata cook for another 5-10 minutes until it is completely set and is golden brown around the edges (check to see how it is doing after 5 minutes).  The top of the frittata should still be a nice, sunshine-y yellow.  *Leave it in the pan on a trivet or the stovetop to cool for a few minutes before cutting into it.  Serve warm or at room temperature or save for eating later.

Kitchen Witch Tip:*

Hot pan handleSign of a hot pan handle

When the pan in which you cooked the frittata comes out of the oven, it will be scorching hot, enough to really hurt the person who touches it bare-handed.  I know this sounds like it makes common sense, but when you have people running around your kitchen or you’re greeting guests, there’s that one split second when you might forget just how fired-up this cooking implement really is.  It will take quite while for it to cool down.

In the professional kitchen (and as we were taught to do in culinary school), there’s a a couple of ways we indicate to our fellow team members that they might want to take caution when handing a hot pan.  A. leave a side towel wrapped around it or B. sprinkle flour on it to make it stand out.  In your own home kitchen, wrapping a towel around the handle or covering it with a potholder, as in the photo above, are good options.  Just remember to let the person washing your dishes know that the handle is hot before he/she slips off the covering and places it in the sink. (It’s probably not necessary to say “caliente” before handing into to him/her to clean, as we do in the restaurant.)

Buon appetito!

Herbed Zucchini-Feta Fritters from Lokanta Maya

Have you ever eaten Turkish cuisine?  After I lived in London in the late ’90s, I returned to the United States with a great appreciation for the flavorful dishes of this country with its vast landscape.  So when I saw that as part of the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference a few weeks ago, Didem Senol (photo above), the owner of Lokanta Maya and an alumna of the French Culinary Institute in New York, would be leading a demonstration class about the culture and cooking of her country, I signed up to learn more about it.

Herbed Zucchini-Feta Fritters with Yogurt-Cucumber-Mint Sauce (Mücver)

Among the delicious examples of Turkish cooking that we were able to enjoy during the demo were these crisp, fluffy Herbed Zucchini-Feta Fritters known as Mücver with a cool, creamy yogurt sauce.  Flecked with dill, mint, and parsley with chunks of feta nestled throughout, the fritters were served to us right from the frying oil, hot yet delicate and not heavy at all.  After munching on these tasty bites, a number of hands went up in the air asking where we could get her recipe for these.  Then, the May issue of Food & Wine magazine arrived in my mailbox.  Flipping through it, I saw that Chef Senol and her wonderful fritters were there in a feature about Istanbul and mezze.  Could I make these at home and possibly hope to replicate them?

Salted Zucchini

As Chef Senol explained to us, one of the keys to achieving the light texture of the fritters was to salt the zucchini and then squeeze as much water out of them as possible before adding it to the flour, egg, cheese, and herbs.  That way, the batter isn’t too runny, and the fritters will crisp up nicely.  I used my hands and grasped small fistfuls of the grated zucchini pieces, squeezing them with lots of might to force out as much liquid as possible.  From other recipes that call for this same technique, I’d also recommend your piling the zucchini in a cheesecloth and twist and squeeze that to get the same results.

Dill, Parsley, Mint

One of the other main attributes of these little delights, which comes through the moment your teeth break through the hot crust and settle into the soft interior of the fritter is how the combination of the dill, parsely, and mint complement the zucchini and brighten the flavor of the dough.  There’s a grassy, springlike freshness to these fritters with each bite being lively and slightly complex without being overpoweringly herbal.  I realized about two-thirds of the way through mincing the herbs by hand, running a knife over them multiple times, that I was doing it the hard way.  If you have a mezzaluna, I recommend taking that route instead to save time and give you more uniform results.

Mixture for the Herbed Zucchini-Feta Fritters

Once the drained zucchini and herbs are combined with the feta, egg, and flour, it comes out looking like this.  While the mixture sets in the fridge, it is the perfect time to turn to making the sauce.

Cucumber-Yogurt-Mint Sauce

As you can see from the second photo, my sauce didn’t come out looking anything like the one that Chef Senol had created.  Although the recipe called for everything to be mixed separately into the yogurt, I wonder if it had all been put through the food processor which would then capture more of the color of the mint in the final product.  Also, my cucumber didn’t seem to be as finely minced as hers.  Next time, I’m going to experiment with the sauce a bit more to see if I can get it to be gorgeously silken and light-green-hued as hers.

Frying the first side

I ended up shallow frying these, rather than deep frying them in a saucepan, per the instructions.  This took a bit longer to cook them, but I don’t think the results came out any less perfect.  I don’t have a deep-fryer in my house, so next time, I’ll have to figure out how to use that technique without making a complete mess of my kitchen and setting off the smoke detector.

Flipping them over to the second side

These do cook up quite quickly, with the crust becoming a beautiful golden brown.

First batch is almost ready

I divided the recipe in half, so I was able to cook everything in two batches.  This made about 10 fritters that were about two tablespoons of batter each.  Some were a bit bigger than that, so if you were more precise and uniform than I when dropping the zucchini mixture into the pan, you could get about 12-14 fritters from half a batch.

Herbed Zucchini-Feta Fritters with Yogurt-Cucumber-Mint Sauce (Mücver)

Here’s my results.  While they didn’t come out looking exactly the same as the ones that our group enjoyed during Chef Senol’s demo, they were no less delicious.  The hot, crisp fritters combined with  creamy, refreshing yogurt sauce made a wonderful snack.  I would definitely make these again, especially when faced with the end of the summer bounty of herbs and zucchini.

Buon appetito!

Pasta with Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers (Pasta alle zucchine e fiori di zucca)

This Wednesday, when I was doing my weekly shopping trip to the Union Square Greenmarket, I was kind of surprised to see how much summertime produce was still available.  I snapped up blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to have with my yogurt and granola for breakfast (I’m trying to be very good after all that pasta and gelato in Italy.).  While I was walking around the market, one item in particular caught my eye, Zucchini Flowers.  I thought that the season for these was long over, so I picked up a box of them to take home with me.

I’ve been wanting to make a pasta dish with Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers (or fiori di zucca in Italian).  I’d never eaten these delicate blossoms until I moved to Italy, and there I fell in love with them.  It wasn’t until several years ago that I started seeing them for sale in the farmers markets in New York.  Now, I find them on menus around town, people ask for my recipes, and I read about them being used in dishes featured in cooking magazines.

Zucchini “coins”

Zucchini has been one of those things with which I’ve had a love-hate relationship.  When it isn’t cooked to death, the way my mother made it when I was growing up, it is actually one of those vegetables that I enjoy eating.  I’m not a huge fan of it raw on crudite platters, either.  Somewhere in the middle, whether it is fried or sauteed, is really the best point at which to eat it, I feel, when there is some creaminess to it and a bit of a bite.  Here, I cooked it in olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese on top, added the zucchini flowers, and sprinkled it with another summertime favorite, fresh basil, to give it an herbal, anise-like snap at the finish.

I tossed this with some linguine that I found hanging out in my cupboard, but spaghetti would work well, too.  It seems like it will finally be getting a bit cooler after this weekend so summer really is winding down.  There’s just a short window left to make this dish this year.  Then, it will need to wait until next summer when the golden yellow zucchini flowers come back into season and bright green, tender zucchini flood the markets.

Getting everything ready

Pasta with Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers (Pasta alle zucchine e fiori di zucca)

Serving Size: 2 starter portions

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tsp. Olive Oil (does not have to be extra virgin)

4 small, dark-skinned Zucchini, cut into round “coins”

2 cloves Garlic, minced

5 Zucchini Flowers, trimmed, rinsed and cut into strips cross-ways

1 Tbsp chopped fresh Basil

Black Pepper, freshly ground

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 portions of dried pasta, such as linguini, trenette or spaghetti (not too thin), cooked according to the directions on the package

Assembly:

Start water to boil for the pasta and follow the preparation instructions on the package.  In Italian cooking, the sauce is made in advance of the pasta being cooked, so that nothing distracts from making the pasta perfectly.  In this recipe, you can make them pretty much side-by-side, although the pasta will take a bit longer to cook than the sauce.

Cleaned and chopped zucchini flower (left) and one waiting to be prepared (right)

You will also need to clean the zucchini flowers before you cut them up to eat.  As you can see in the above photo, there is a stem end that needs to be removed.  Make a slit in the side of the flower, carefully open it up to separate the yellow floral part from the stem end and the yellow fuzzy part coming up from the stem.  Discard those parts leaving only the yellow flower.  That part is what you will chop up and eat.  Rinse it carefully under water or brush with a wet towel to get rid of any dirt and bugs on it.

In a sautee pan large enough so that all the zucchini will fit in one layer, heat the olive oil for about 30 seconds over low to medium heat (It should not be smoking hot.).  Put zucchini in the pan and cook it on one side until the coins start to blister a bit and become golden brown.  This will take 2-3 minutes.  Flip them over to cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.

Sauteed zucchini “coins”

Add the garlic and mix together with the zucchini.  Be careful not to let the garlic turn brown as it will then develop an acrid taste.  Turn off the heat at this point.  Add 4 of the chopped zucchini flowers and 2 Tbsp of the basil.  Toss together letting the residual heat wilt them.  Set aside until the pasta is ready.

Sauteed Zucchini with Zucchini Flowers

Here is the beauty of this dish – it also makes a wonderful vegetable side course (or contorno in Italian).  If you want to skip the pasta, at this point grate some Parmesan cheese on the top of the zucchini and zucchini flowers.  Add a few grinds of black pepper and toss it together.  Then, as a finishing touch sprinkle the remaining chopped zucchini flower and fresh basil on top of it.  Serve immediately.

If using as a pasta sauce, drain the cooked pasta, reserving a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking liquid.  Add the liquid to the pan with the vegetables and toss together.  Put the pasta into the saucepan and stir to coat the pasta strands.  Place half the pasta mixture on each of two plates.  Add a couple of grinds of black pepper to each along with a dusting of Parmesan cheese, and the remaining chopped zucchini flowers and basil leaves.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Courgette & Orzo Bake or Baked Zucchini & Orzo

Zucchini & Orzo bake

With the holiday weekend approaching, it’s time to start making those grocery shopping lists to prepare for the barbecue or whatever plans are on tap.  Although I love the stand-bys like potato salad and s’mores, sometimes I feel like we fall into the usual rut of side dishes.  With so much fresh produce coming into season, it seemed appropriate to try to find something new to make.

summer squashSummer Squash

BBC Good Food Magazine, which is one of my reliable recipe resources, had a whole section of courgette (zucchini) dishes in the June issue.  One of them that caught my eye was this Courgette & Orzo Bake.  Fortunately, the Greenmarket has already begun to showcase this summer’s crop of squash, so the basic ingredient wasn’t too difficult to find in every shape and size.  From there, it was really just a matter of prepping everything and throwing it all together in a baking pan (I used a Pyrex one) to cook together.

Grated ZucchiniGrating the Zucchini by hand is tedious but worth it

OnionsSee my tutorial on “How to Chop an Onion

white wineI think that’s just enough wine left for this dish

Vegetable StockYes, it is store-bought stock.  I don’t usually make my own.

Barilla OrzoYep – just go on and dump the whole box of Orzo into the pan

Pre-baked Zucchini & OrzoI ended up using a ladle to transfer the mixture from stovetop pan to baking dish

oven readyOven-ready.  Not to worry, all of that liquid will be absorbed into the dish during the baking process.

Ready for the ovenThe last 10 minutes when adding breadcrumbs and extra Parmesan

Finished dishHere’s the result – Courgette & Orzo Bake or Baked Zucchini & Orzo

This dish has lots of great flavor with the freshness of the in-season zucchini (or courgettes), the nuttiness of the Parmesan, the crisp of the breadcrumbs, and the al dente pasta.  I think that next time, I would follow what one of the on-line commenters said and add pine nuts at that last 10-minute mark to add some extra heartiness to the dish.  I would also sprinkle some chopped basil on top after it comes out of the oven for an additional herbal punch.

These summertime flavors would be wonderful with grilled chicken or burgers or, what really came to mind for me, lamb.  It is fine served hot but even room temperature it would make a splendid side dish for any summer cookout.  I think this one will go it to the recipe “keeper” file.

Buon appetito!

Baked Stuffed Zucchini with Tomato Sauce (Zucchini Ripieni con Sugo di Pomodoro)

As I mentioned in my previous post, this trip was great for discovering some new dishes for me to try to re-create at home.  While I don’t think that I’d been in a culinary rut recently, it was more that my tastebuds needed a bit of a wake up or re-tuning.  Italy is, not surprisingly, the perfect place for this.

A couple of friends of mine moved to Rome a little over a year ago.  I hadn’t had a chance yet to catch up with them either in the U.S. or in Italy so we spent some time walking around, seeing the city, and, of course, eating.  One of the places they took me to try was the Gelateria del Teatro located at Via di San Simone, 70.  Tucked away off of a busy street, this shop not only has a range of unique-sounding gelato flavors, there’s also mini treats like tiramisu and boxes of handmade chocolates to savor.


Really, though, it was the gelato that I was there to try.  With flavors like Pear and Caramel and Raspberry and Sage, theirs is not the typical array.  Several of the choices are made without dairy, like their Chocolate Fondant gelato (I was told that the green handle indicates these.).  My first selection was one of their more unique combinations: Chocolate with Nero d’Avola wine.  It was rich and smooth, like taking a square of the finest confectionery, putting it on your tongue, and then taking a sip of a robust red wine to let all the flavors mingle together to slide down your throat.  My other scoop was the bright, citrusy, creamy Agrumi di Sicilia, a lemon cheesecake gelato studded with the peel of the fruit, delivering a wonderfully refreshing contrast to the richness of the chocolate concoction.

While I was in Rome, I met up with Nicole of And Baby Cakes Three, a wonderful blog to check out for some delicious Italian recipes.  She shared with me one of hers and her husband’s favorite restaurants to visit (and where I notice she got the inspiration for this recipe)  Santa Lucia is on a side street off of busy Piazza Navona (at Largo Febo, 12).  This charming spot was where I ate probably the best meal that I had on my trip to Rome.  Being sensitive to policies regarding the prohibiting of taking photos of meals in restaurants, I opted not to snap any pictures.  I was also too busy enjoying all the wonderful tastes.

I started out with a dish that has in recent years become one of my favorites, which is a complete shock to me.  Artichokes (carciofi) are definitely something to try when you are in Rome and when they are in season as there they handle them perfectly.  I had a shaved artichoke salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and decorated with strips of parmesan cheese and crumbled crispy pancetta.  This hit many of my taste points: salty, meaty, cheesey, crunchy, vegetal, and is one of the dishes I plan to try to recreate when artichokes come into season in New York.

My pasta course was maltagliati (literally “badly cut”) pasta with cooked little squid, a perfume of rosemary, and a buttery sauce.  Both of these dishes held true to the Italian mantra of “simplice ma buona” (simple ingredients prepared well).  Being on vacation, I decided to order dessert.  The semifreddo (sort of an ice cream type dish) with nocciole (hazelnuts) and torrone (nougat) which was dusted in cocoa powder and drizzled with chocolate sauce was the perfect end to the meal.  Alongside of it were two wafer thin cookies dusted with powdered sugar.  These were a surprise, as they had a delicate anise flavor that proved to be a welcome balance to the creamy semifreddo.

That night, we ate at the place that inspired the recipe in the title of the post.  It was in a restaurant that did seem to be full of tourists, but the food was not bad. We had been directed there by a friend of a friend.  Two dishes stick with me from that meal, the Carciofi alla Romana (artichokes Roman style) and the stuffed zucchini covered in tomato sauce.  Usually when I’ve seen zucchini ripieni, they are open-faced and baked with a topping of cheese and breadcrumbs.  Inspired by this version and with fond memories of my encounter with a Roman street vendor, I decided to try my hand at making this for myself.

Stuffed Baked Zucchini with Tomato Sauce (Zucchini Ripieni con Sugo di Pomodoro)

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (with making sauce)
Serving Size:  2 zucchini each for 4 people

Ingredients:
Basic Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 lb. ground veal
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for finishing
2 Tbsp. finely grated breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced or put through a garlic press
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 large egg
8 medium zucchini

Assembly:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix together, pork, veal, cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, and egg until combined thoroughly.  Take each zucchini and cut it in half.  For each half, scoop out the seeds to create a trench to be filled with the meat mixture.  Place meat mixture in 8 of the halves, being generous so that the second half covers the meat mixture almost completely when placed on top of it.  Top each filled half with the second (empty) half of the zucchini.

In shallow baking dish, spoon 2 Tbsp of the tomato sauce and spread it to coat the bottom of the dish.  Place the filled zucchini in one layer in the dish.  Cover zucchini with an additional 1/2 c. of the tomato sauce.  Put aluminum foil over the baking dish and place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes.

At 30 minutes, check to see that zucchini are cooked by poking a fork or knife into the thickest one.  The meat should be cooked through as well.  Remove from oven and sent aside.  Reheat leftover tomato sauce.  Place two of the stuffed zucchini on each of 4 plates and ladle about 1/4 c. of the sauce around the base of the plate and over the vegetables.  Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

Buon appetito!


Basic Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 40 minutes
Serving size: makes about 2-3 cups of sauce

Ingredients:
2 tsp. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 box chopped tomatoes (like Pomi, 750 ml or 26.46 oz.) or large can chopped tomatoes without salt
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Assembly:
In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes and let cook for about a minute, taking care not to let the garlic get brown or burned.  Pour in the chopped tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer.  Let cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is thick.  Turn off the heat.

Add in the salt and pepper.  With a hand-held immersion blender, mix the ingredients until completely smooth or slightly chunky, depending upon your preference.  At this point, the sauce is ready for additional seasoning or spicing up as necessary for the dish in which you are using it.  For the recipe above, nothing more is needed.

Curried Lamb Burgers and Grilled Veggie-Mozzarella Sandwiches

As much as I love a great hamburger, as seen a few posts down, over the past few years, I’ve really started to get into Lamb Burgers. I’ll opt to get that if I see it on a menu when I’m out to eat so I can see how they are prepared. Restaurants also seem to be realizing that patrons are willing to try something a bit out of their comfort zone and offer more lamb on the menu, which I’m really glad to see.
A couple of years ago, Bon Appetit published a recipe that has now become part of my summer rotation. This Curried Lamb Burgers with Grilled Vegetables and Mint Raita is a handful of a title for a dish that is actually super simple to make and has great flavors. The lamb is moist and meaty with a bit of a kick from the curry (without it being too spicy or overwhelming). The yogurt sauce or raita cools it all down with a mint-citrus freshness, and the grilled vegetables take full advantage of the fresh, local produce now available.
This is definitely one of my summertime standby recipes. I love just loading up on eggplant, zucchini, and peppers and grilling up a whole batch to serve alongside these burgers. The burgers themselves freeze very well, so it is easy to have them on hand for a weeknight supper. This weekend, I seemed to have overbought in the vegetable department. I ended up cooking the whole batch and put them into the refrigerator hoping for some culinary inspiration.
Fortunately, I didn’t really have that long to wait. One of my other late-summer favorite meals is a mixed, grilled vegetable sandwich with cheese on toasted bread slathered with homemade pesto. Usually I use a goat’s cheese, but today I had a hankering for mozzarella. So, I headed to Milano Marketplace, the Italian deli down the street, bought some handmade cheese, and went back home to build my perfect sandwich.
I started with a round bread roll, sliced it open, and drizzled extra-virgin olive oil on each of the facing sides. Then, I placed it on a hot grill pan to toast. After about a minute, I took the bottom half of the roll and spread some of the pesto I made earlier onto it along with a few slices of the cheese. I layered the grilled zucchini, squash, eggplant, peppers, and some more mozzarella on top of that.
Then, I put the more-grilled top half of the bread over the filling. The whole sandwich was returned to the grill pan for another minute to warm it all through. Biting into the crisp exterior with the gooey cheese, soft vegetables and savory pesto, this is the perfect summertime meal in a sandwich.

Buon appetito!