Naturally suited to grilling, zucchini is both juicy and mild, which means it stays moist even when it’s hit with fire, and it soaks up the smoky flavors of the grill in the short time it cooks. Maximize surface area — and convenience — by cutting the zucchini into sturdy planks, which cook through quickly without slipping through the grates while still retaining some texture. Brush them with olive oil, season enthusiastically with salt and pepper and grill until crisp-tender to enjoy them as a simple side, tossed into a salad or tucked into sandwiches. If you’d like to show them off, arrange them over some ricotta, then dot with herbs, capers and lemon and serve with grilled bread for an easy seasonal supper. The best summer recipes allow you to embrace technique but customize at whim.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3large zucchini (about 8 ounces each), cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch planks
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1cup fresh ricotta (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves (or other tender herbs, such as dill, mint or oregano), chopped capers and lemon, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Prepare the grill for direct grilling and heat over high.
Step 2Working on a large baking sheet, brush the zucchini all over with oil, then season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 3Once the grill is heated, add the zucchini to the grates in an even layer, leaving about 1 inch between to avoid crowding. Cook, uncovered, until grill-marked and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (The zucchini should tenderize in just the amount of time it takes to develop grill marks.)
Step 4In a small bowl, stir the ricotta, if using, with a couple tablespoons of water until extra creamy; season with salt and pepper. Spread the ricotta mixture on a platter, then top with the grilled zucchini, piling it organically to gain some height. Though you need no garnish, you can top with fresh herbs, capers, a flurry of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice if you are feeling fancy. Drizzle with olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.