This is a very easy recipe that packs a big flavor profile. I like to serve this dish as an appetizer when entertaining, because it’s delicious, but won’t leave guests too full to enjoy the main course.
The idea for this recipe came to me last summer when I was invited to a “White Party” and had to bring along one course to share with our table. I had never heard of a white party before, but my neighbor Lena (who knows everyone and everything around town) told me about it, and I was immediately intrigued. It costs nothing to participate – but you bring everything yourself, and dress all in white. Virtually everything you bring must be in white. You simply apply via Facebook, and a few weeks later you get notified about the date, but not the location. The location is only announced two days beforehand. The mystery only heightens the excitement and suspense! Our table consisted of a few girlfriends who each brought something and shared what we had with the table, and I drew the appetizer and dessert for the group.
My friend Jutta brought a Tomato-Mozzarella Salad. I wanted to make something that would look beautiful next to her salad, but that would transport well and not be too hard to make. I looked around my fridge and there they were, the ingredients! Zucchini, pickled dried cherry tomatoes, feta, and cream cheese. I decided to finish them with the fresh herbs in my herb pot outside.
I used to not be such a big fan of zucchini. I always thought it was too tasteless, and grew soft too quickly when cooked. Then I started discovering ways of preparing it that gave it more taste and a firmer bite. This time I cut the zucchini lengthwise after removing the ends, grilled the slabs, and then marinated them in white wine vinegar. The most important thing is to slice them not too thick and not too thin, about 4 mm or a bit less than a quarter inch thick.
If you don’t have a tool such as a mandoline to do this for you, just do your best by hand. You can grill them outside or use a griddle pan on the stovetop. The grill marks in the zucchini add visual appeal and a pleasant texture. While you marinate the zucchini, you can prepare the filling. Chop up the herbs (I used thyme, basil, and a bit of mint), and mix with the feta and cream cheese. Chop the pickled dried cherry tomatoes to layer on top of the cheese mixture before rolling.
Here’s the recipe. It was really one of the most beautiful parties I’ve ever been to!
For 2-4 people (if you’re having a party, I recommend doubling the recipe):
2 medium size zucchini
4-6 dried dried pickled tomatoes
2 oz cream cheese
2 oz feta cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped Thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar for marinade
salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise in 3-4mm, or between 1/8-1/4 inch slabs. Brush both sides with olive oil and grill or cook on the griddle pan for 1-2 minutes per side.
- Brush each side of the still-hot zucchini with the white wine vinegar and any remaining oil, cover with the remaining vinegar, and set aside.
- For the filling: chop the tomatoes if they are too large. Mix the cream cheese and the feta with a fork, add the chopped herbs, salt and pepper, and mix until blended.
- Remove the zucchini from the marinade. Spread the cheese mixture evenly on each zucchini slab, then a strip or two of pickled tomato on top. Roll tightly, and secure with a toothpick through the center. Arrange on a platter and garnish with a bit of thyme.
PS: The recipe for the dried pickled cherry tomatoes will follow soon!
I hope you have fun trying this recipe – please let me know if you have any questions or comments below.