July 7, 2011
It’s perfectly normal to be over at your friend’s sister’s house for the first time, go through her cookbooks, and snap a photo of an enticing recipe, right? I mean, why else were camera phones even invented? At any rate, that’s how I came upon this recipe, and after a few adaptations, it has become a staple in my kitchen.
These zucchini appetizers are packed full of flavor, use up the summer veggies that are growing like crazy in my garden, and are a light offering before a meal. To me, it often feels like the appetizers at parties are so breaded, clunky, and heavy, I’m full before I even get to dinner. These compact bite-sized bits of vegetables smothered in cheese manage to be savory without weighing you down. Basically, this is a super easy recipe that’s forgiving and great for entertaining (just assemble the entire thing on a sheet tray and pop it in the oven right as your guests start to arrive). I’ve probably made these at least five different ways: different cheeses, layered with basil on top, or hidden under the tomato, etc etc. I like this adaptation the best, but if you’ve got a different way of doing things, go for it, and comment! I’d love to hear all the neat things you guys do with this recipe.
Zucchini Rounds with Feta
Adapted from a mystery cookbook by that entertaining minx of a maven: Martha Stewart.
Note: These can be prepared several hours in advance. Keep refrigerated, then bake at the last minute.
10 small zucchini
Salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic–minced
½ pound chilled feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces.
2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced
Baby basil leaves
1/3 pound Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash and slice off the ends of the tomatoes, then slice the tomato in half. Discard the ends and place the sliced tomatoes on a plate or bowl for assembly.
Crumble the feta in one bowl and grate the Parmesan in another. Wash and dry your basil leaves, too. You’re creating an assembly line.
Wash the zucchini and slice them into ½-inch rounds. With a melon baller, scoop out the center of each slice of zucchini, leaving the bottom of each round intact.
Lay the scooped zucchini on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper so the scooped side is up ready to catch your ingredients.
To assemble, sprinkle the zucchini with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the minced garlic over the rounds. Line each round with a piece of basil, fill holes with feta. Place a tomato on top of the cheese and sprinkle the whole tray with Parmesan. Add more salt and pepper to taste
Bake in your preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes. The cheese should be melted, but not brown. Garnish with another fresh basil leaf and serve warm.