Zucchini Bruschetta – Hold Off on Cardigans a Little Longer…

Zucchini Bruschetta detail

The summer seems to be winding down, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 100 degree days well into October.  I’m getting in that cozy fall mood, already, though, and it’s dangerous because I want to wear cardigans and listen to jazz and eat pumpkin flavored things and it’s still 98 and muggy outside.  Sometimes if the summer goes on a little too long, I start protesting by wearing my sweaters, regardless of the temp.  I consider it my adult fussypants-ness.  Everyone’s got a cross to bear – mine is shorts-weather.

This recipe keeps me mildly okay with the fact that it’s still summer.  It’s so fresh and happy and has such bright, bold flavors and colors that it makes the perfect appetizer when your friends are keeping you company in the kitchen as you finish roasting the pig…or whatever it is you cook for your friends.  This is also a great way to use up the only thing you got to grow in your garden, this year.  What is it about zucchini?  Why does it:
1. Always grow
2. Grows as big as a Great Dane
3. Give you more yield than any one family could ever consume?

Zucchini gives false hope.  “Hey, you can grow me!  Now let’s see how you do with carrots!  Go on!  I want to see you try!  Loser.”

Or that’s how my zucchini plant makes ME feel…

zucchini bruschetta appetizers

Zucchini and Olive Bruschetta*
serves 6-8 appetizer sized portions

1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 small zucchini (about 12 ounces)
1 large avocado (ripe, duh)
zest and juice from one lemon
12 large mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup toasted almonds or any nut, really
1/3 cup chopped catamala olives, or whatever floats your boat
2 ounces pecorino romano, parmesan or other firm cheese you enjoy

Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/3” slices and then stack the slices and cut into 1/3 “ matchsticks lengthwise. Once all the zucchini are sliced, cut them lengthwise into 1” pieces.

Place the zucchini in a colander and toss with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and set aside to drain for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the bread on both sides with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crusty and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn once halfway through to toast evenly. Remove and cool.

Peel and pit avocado then cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice and zest. Roughly chop mint leaves and add to avocados.

Line a large plate with paper towels and spread out salted zucchini. Lay another layer of paper towels on top and pat off excess moisture. Add to the avocado bowl along with the almonds and olives and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.

Top each crostini with a heaping spoonful of the zucchini mixture. Drizzle over olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. Using a peeler thinly shave cheese and top each crostini with a few slices and serve.

*recipe adapted from aidamollenkamp.com

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