I planted a second round of tomatoes in the garden last week. And while I was at it, I went ahead and stuck a new zucchini plant in.
Because this is the first year I haven’t wanted to wretch at the mere sound of “zucchini” before the 4th of July. I seriously cannot get enough of it. And I haven’t even made zucchini bread, the sure sign that Zucchini Fatigue has set in, once.
(Muffins are a different story. For next week.)
But this dish. Pure zucchini amazingness. I took my favorite summer side dish (that has already gotten the sandwich treatment plenty this summer) and gave it the Annie’s Eats sandwich treatment: served on some crusty ciabatta with a beautifully simple and creamy herbed ricotta.
I made my own ricotta. You don’t have to. But I highly recommend it. Because it takes like 20 minutes, a candy thermometer, and some $3 cheesecloth.
And your 4 year old will look at you with complete wide-eyed amazement because she just helped you make cheese. “Real cheese but it’s cheese that we eat with a spoon.” (And eat with a spoon she will until you take it away.)
Grilled Zucchini and Herbed Ricotta Sandwiches
Creamy herbed ricotta and grilled vegetables served on crusty, grilled ciabatta bread.
- 1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
- 1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/4 cup olive oil + more for spraying/brushing
- 1 1/2 cup ricotta
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3-4 large basil leaves, minced
- 1 lb loaf of ciabatta
- Heat grill to medium.
- Carefully thread the onion rounds onto skewers (this will keep them in tact as rounds while grilling), making sure the skewer goes through every onion ring.
- Brush onions and zucchini rounds with 1/4 cup olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Grill vegetables 9-10 minutes each side, until nicely caramelized.
- Cut the ciabatta loaf in half horizontally and lightly spray/brush with olive oil - transfer to the grill for 1-2 minutes until crisped.
- Stir the ricotta with the lemon juice and zest, garlic, and basil leaves in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread ricotta over the bottom half and top with zucchini and red onion slices.
- Spread any remaining ricotta on the top half of the bread, place on top, and then cut into serving sizes (smaller for appetizer; larger for entree).
Yields: Servings vary
Estimated time: 30 minutes
I have lost track of the number of pineapples we’ve grilled in the last two months. But that number shot up last week when they were .99 each. Because you know me and how I love
to hoard a good produce sale.
If you’ve never grilled a pineapple, let me tell you what you’re missing out on. First, a fresh pineapple is so much more flavorful, vibrantly-colored, and crisper than canned pineapple. Give a sweet, yellow round to the grill and you get back a round of caramelized, lightly charred, smokey perfection that you can do anything with.
Margaritas. Guacamole. Nachos. Burgers. Tacos. Salsa. This salmon. And even more salmon!
Or, you know, slap two rounds on a plate and call it lunch. Or breakfast. No judging here.
I had leftovers from one of my very, very favorite ways to prepare salmon (seriously, if you haven’t tried it – do it!) and wrapped it up.
Sweet, smokey pineapple. Spicy salmon and weapons-grade jalapenos. Crunchy kale and red onions. A supposed-to-be-cooling-but-not-really-because-that-jalapeno-was-just-way-too-&^%$#@!-hot dollop of Greek yogurt.
A healthy, satisfying lunch… or at least it will be when my face stops burning.
Spicy Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Wrap
Leftover salmon goes lunch with smokey, grilled pineapple and cool, crunchy veggies.
- 1 sandwich wrap
- Greek yogurt
- Leftover salmon filet
- 1 grilled pineapple round, halved
- Tomato slices
- 2-3 kale leaves, torn to fit the wrap
- Sliced jalapenos (or not)
- Sliced red onion
- To grill the pineapple, remove the husk, core, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Grill on med-high for 4-5 minutes each side, until nicely caramelized.
- Spread a dollop of Greek yogurt over the wrap.
- Top with salmon, pineapple, tomato, kale, jalapenos, and red onion.
- Roll up and cut in half.
- Serve immediately.
- (Optional) Bury face in a snow bank to put out the heat.
Yields: 1 serving
Estimated time: 15 minutes
You can do a lot of amazing things with zucchini. You can bread it and bake it for the faux-fry treatment. And then dip in ranch. Because the answer is always ranch (when it’s not margarita).
You can caramelize it in some bacon grease [swoon] and toss it into a peppery, velvety smooth carbonara for what is quite possibly the best pasta dish you’ll make all summer.
But my all-time favorite for the last few years? Grilling it with red onions and topping with a simple, insanely versatile, you-have-all-these-ingredients-already vinaigrette.
I make the grilled zucchini twice a week and eat it most nights as our veggie side. And most days, I pile the leftovers onto a chunk of baguette with a smear of mayo and a dizzle of vinaigrette, pop it under the broiler with some cheese, and call it lunch.
It’s my favorite summer lunch. My favorite summer sandwich.
And it’s pretty close to the best thing that could ever happen to zucchini.
Grilled Zucchini & Red Onion Sandwich
Summery sandwich made with grilled zucchini and red onions, topped with a lemon basil vinaigrette.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Spread mayo on the bread and pile high with zucchini and red onions.
- Take a spoonful or two of leftover vinaigrette from the bowl and spoon over top.
- Top with cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Cut in half to make 2 sandwiches; serve hot.
Yields: 2 servings
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Who else went overboard and bought nearly 6lbs of asparagus because it was $.88/lb?
Welcome to the hoarder club!
Who else has eaten roasted asparagus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner pretty much every day?
Welcome to the we-clearly-don’t-understand-hoarding club!
Cheap asparagus means two things: 1) Spring is just around the corner (and seriously, could it be any slower this year?!) and 2) I probably just justified buying a not-on-the-shopping-list bottle of wine with my new-found savings. Or, you know, three.
After the pan of Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette disappeared in record time [looks around and whistles], I whipped up second, “plain” pan specifically to use for grilled cheese sandwiches.
Melty provolone cheese + plus gooey, tangy goat cheese + garlicky, roasted asparagus (+ bacon for Jason’s sandwich because if it’s green and not guacamole it better have bacon and heck, even if it is guacamole, bacon doesn’t hurt) = a pretty darn amazing grilled cheese sandwich.
So go ahead. Celebrate spring’s just-around-the-corner-return with a grilled asparagus & goat cheese sandwich.
Goat Cheese & Asparagus Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese goes spring with tangy goat cheese and roasted asparagus.
- 1 lb asparagus
- Olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 slices bread (this is my favorite sandwich bread)
- 1 slice provolone cheese
- Leftover roasted asparagus (don't forget those crunchy garlic slices!)
- Goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Cut the bottom few inches of the asparagus bundle off and discard.
- Spread onto a baking pan, top with garlic slices, salt, pepper, and a generous drizzle of olive oil - shake pan to coat evenly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes (longer if stalks are super thick).
- Heat a griddle or pan over medium high.
- Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Spread or crumble goat cheese over one unbuttered side of bread.
- Top with asparagus (cut in half or thirds to fit your bread) and a slice of provolone.
- Top with the other slice of bread and grill until the bread is golden brown and the cheese melts.
- Serve warm.
Yields: 1 sandwich (and plenty of leftover asparagus)
Estimated time: 30 minutes