Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches

Okay, okay – I know this isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken.  But I sincerely hope it conveys to you the overall feeling that this sandwich is trying to express — which is that of a gooey, casual, and somewhat rustic concoction on toasted French peasant bread.  Yum.  It won’t win any beauty contests, but I just ate the photo shoot and it. was. DELISH!
And guess what?  My basil is back.  Remember earlier in the summer I mentioned that some sort of dreadful blight had caused all six of my plants to turn a hideous yellow and black?  Yep, it was pretty awful.  Grotesque in fact.  So I whacked all of ’em down to almost nothing, and whadaya know!?  They’ve all come back, and look absolutely amazing.  So don’t ask me what that was all about — I have no idea and I honestly don’t care – I just know that my beautiful basil is back and I’m like, super glad.

(If you don’t have any basil in your yard, it’s not too late to plant some.  Why, just the other day I saw basil plants at the Mequon Sendiks, so if you want fresh basil in your daily life, and I think you do …. get a move on, time’s a wastin’!)

So, without further ado, I give you Summer Sandwich #4.  If you have a copy of August’s Cooking Light, you’ll see I modified the recipe quite a bit.  For starters, I don’t have a grill pan (as was called for), so I toasted the sandwiches on my griddle.  If you’re lucky enough to have a panini maker, this would be the perfect opportunity to fire up that bad boy.  Also, the only ciabatta rolls I could find seemed way too thick to toast up in a pan and I swapped in sliced bread instead.  I’m writing the recipe out according to the changes I made.  Hope you like it!

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine, August 2011, p. 112.  Recipe by Jackie Newgent.

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into six slices
4 t. olive oil, divided (Rachel Ray olive oil is on sale if you’re running low)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 t. balsamic vinegar (Modenaceti brand balsamic is on sale)
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
8 slices ciabatta bread (I used Breadsmith French peasant bread)
8 large fresh basil leaves
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced (Beefsteak tomatoes are on sale)
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Place zucchini in a shallow dish.  Add 2 teaspoons oil and the garlic, toss to coat.  Add zucchini to pan, and cook two minutes per side or until it begins to soften.  Transfer zucchini to a cutting surface, cut slices in half crosswise.  Drizzle with vinegar; sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil (I like to use my oil mister for this).  Place four slices (oil side down) on work surface and top evenly with sliced cheese, zucchini, basil, tomato, and more cheese.  Top each sandwich with another slice of bread (oil side up).

Heat a griddle over medium high heat.  Add the sandwiches to the pan.  Cover sandwiches with a sheet of tin foil, then weigh the sandwiches down with another pan (I used a small stack of dinner plates).   Toast sandwiches three to four minutes per side, or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

CALORIES:  343; FAT:  16.8g; PROTEIN: 15.4g; CARB: 35.3g

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 3rd, 2011