So I was thinking about a nice savoury zucchini appetizer, maybe a bruschetta, and after I got all excited about it I realized it was too hot to be doing anything but the absolute simplest version of anything. So instead of the whole cooking and chopping and macerating and so on and so forth that generally goes along with bruschetta, I pared it down to super-thin grilled strips of zucchini with romano and truffle oil on some toasted rounds of bread.
Get it? Strips? As in “stripper” as in the song “Patricia The Stripper”? That’s where I got the name, see? I really shouldn’t have to explain these things.
Anyway. It turned out to be about five thousand times better than I had ever hoped, so I’m passing it on to you. This works as a super simple appetizer for almost any occasion where you might have the grill up and running. The flavours are bright and summery and sweet and salty and it’s crunchy and warm and I bet you end up making it all summer long.
This is easiest to do if you already have a hot grill – at that point it is virtually no effort at all. If you can work a vegetable peeler and a knife, you are home free on this one. Start with five simple ingredients:
A section of a nice fresh zucchini
A chunk of good romano cheese
A bit of tomato
You also need a good vegetable peeler. If you are stuck with a crappy one, here is your excuse to buy a decent model. Which you really should have anyway.
Take your peeler and make long thin strips from the zucchini. They should look pretty much exactly like these ones here. You want four strips for every piece of bread you are going to have.
Move on to the cheese and do the same thing – two or three shavings per crostini will do.
Slice your bread into nice thin rounds. I am going about 1cm thick here.
Finally dice up a tiny bit of the tomato. You just want a few tiny cubes per each piece, so dicing one slice is going to be more than enough.
Your grill can be anywhere between 350 and 450 degrees, so this will work with almost anything you are cooking as your main. Rub one side of each piece of bread with a few drops of the olive oil. Drizzle a bit more of the oil on your pile of zucchini strips and gently toss them with your fingers to coat. Take your bread and your strips to the grill, put your bread on oiled side down, and lay out your zucchini in a single layer. You can see here that the strips are so thin that by the time the last ones are laid on, the first ones are ready to turn.
Turn your strips as soon as you see definite grill marks coming through. They probably only need a minute and a half or at most two minutes per side. Pull them off and check your bread – it should be nicely toasted by this point too. Remember, you are only toasting it on one side.
Now you are ready to assemble you treats. On the toasted side of the bread, lay a couple of shavings of the romano.
Then pile on four strips of the zucchini, drizzle with a touch of truffle oil, sprinkle on three or four bits of tomato, finish it with a wee bit of fresh-cracked pepper, and you are done.
Serve them immediately if you can, they are best when warm and fresh and crunchy. You can pile these on a platter and put it out for a group, or you can plate them up for individual appetizers. They work as well at a “cook-out” as they do for a sit down summer meal.
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