Longtime readers know that my dad is an avid gardener. I live a bit more than 200 miles from my parents, so I don’t get to take as much advantage of his garden as I’d like, but a few times a summer I head down there or they come up here. And I always get a few bags full of garden-fresh produce. It’s always more than the three of us can eat before it goes bad, but I try to make use of as much as possible.
This latest batch included several zucchini. I’ve always found simple sautéed zucchini a bit bland and watery. But cook it over high heat to dry it out a bit and give it some char, and I love it. The flavor is really concentrated by the heat and the carmelization gives it some needed depth. I love zucchini on the grill, but firing up the grill just for some zucchini seems a bit much. A cast iron grill pan does the job.*
*I have a two sided cast iron grill pan/griddle that fits over two burners of my stove. It’s really one of the workhorses of my kitchen. The grill pan gets a ton of use, especially in winter when I can’t use the real grill, and pancakes (a Saturday morning tradition with my daughter) are infinitely better on a cast iron griddle than a stainless steel skillet. Really, if you don’t have one of these, I’d really recommend it. As long as you have a gas stove. I don’t think it’d work so well with electric.
This sandwich is a take on a classic Monte Cristo, but with grilled zucchini standing in for the ham and pan-fried instead of deep fried. It’s great for a quick and satisfying lunch or weeknight dinner.
To make 2 sandwiches (with leftover zucchini)
1 medium to large zucchini, sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
4 slices white bread
2 Tbsp butter
Grill the zucchini and onions over high heat. (Use a charcoal grill or a grill pan. If you use a charcoal grill, be careful not to let them char too much. If you use a cast iron grill pan, let it pre-heat over high for a good 5-10 minutes before you toss on the zucchini.) Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Beat the eggs with some salt and pepper (about as much as you’d use for scrambled eggs.) Toss about a tablespoon of the butter in the skillet.
Dip both sides of the first piece of bread in the eggs. Toss the bread in the skillet, then layer the zucchini, onions and cheese onto the bread. Dip both sides of the second piece of bread in the eggs and place on top. Cook for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook about 2 minutes more.
Repeat for the second sandwich. (You’ll probably need to add more butter for the second sandwich.)
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