A delicious hors d’oeuvres that turns somewhat bland zucchini into a flavorful treat is Crostini with Zucchini Pesto. I found this recipe several years ago on the Tasting Table website and made it right away. I then made it again, and again, and again. I made this zucchini pesto so many times, in such quick succession, that it was not surprisingly forced into early retirement.
That is, until recently when assigned the task of bringing an appetizer to a summer dinner party and I was drawing a blank. I resorted to my trusty recipe binder and happened upon this old favorite. I knew that it would be perfect, especially considering the bag of local zucchini I had just brought home from a Delaware farm stand.
Once again, as recently as this past Friday night, Crostini with Zucchini Pesto came to the rescue. I was hired by a friend to cater the hors d’oeuvres portion of a company event being hosted at her home. I wanted to bring a selection of appetizers that were an extension of an elaborate cheese and charcuterie platter and that complimented the brick oven pizza truck that would be supplying the main course. Why zucchini pesto, of course.
It’s important not to skip the step of squeezing the moisture out of the zucchini before combining it with the other ingredients in order to achieve a cohesive pesto “paste” that will stay on the slices of bread. It’s a minor step that’s worth the effort. I promise that these delicious bites will become a fast favorite. Enjoy!
Added Bonus: Some leftover Zucchini Pesto, loosened with a bit of pasta cooking water, made a flavorful sauce for a Sunday night pasta dinner.
- 3 medium zucchini (about 1 lb)
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (amount depending on your preference)
- 1/4 c shredded basil
- 1/2 c marcona almonds, toasted and finely chopped
- 1 Tbls fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 4 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Using a box grater, coarsely grate the zucchini.
- Place shredded zucchini in the middle of a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 5 minutes, then squeeze the towel to remove excess moisture. Repeat until as much liquid as possible has been released, then transfer the zucchini to a bowl.
- Add the garlic, basil, almonds, thyme, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest and 3 Tbls olive oil to the zucchini. Toss to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate for an hour.
- Just before serving, drizzle the remaining Tbls olive oil over the bread and grill or broil bread until toasted, then let cool.
- Top each slice of bread with about 3 Tbls of the zucchini pesto and serve immediately.