Friday, June 4, 2010

Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Goat Cheese, and Basil

Last week, I got the following e-mail:

"Alli! You haven't seen Julie and Julia yet?!!!! You have to!!! You would love the film and it reminds me so much of you and your cooking escapades :-) Please be sure to see it asap!"

The very next day I read an article about infuriating art in which a movie reviewer said that he had never been more agitated during a movie than during the Julie half of "Julie and Julia".

It was strange to read two strong and very disparate reactions to the movie, as "Julie and Julia" seemed like a fairly innocuous film.  At any rate, I decided that it was time to finally sit down, pull the movie up on Netflix Instant Watch, and watch the movie.

I was surprised to find that I actually really enjoyed the movie.  Sure, the movie has it's faults (which I'm not going to go into here), but it was entertaining and fun. 

At the beginning of the movie, there's a scene where Julie is preparing dinner.  Ironically, in a film about delicious French food, what appealed to me the most was the shot of slices of bread frying in a pan.  My very first thought was, Fried bread!  (What?  Were you expecting something more cogent?  It's fried bread!)  My second thought was, Is that allowed?

My friends, I am happy to tell you that it is, indeed, allowed.  The other day, I stumbled upon a recipe for Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil in the Real Simple recipe archives. As I have a refrigerator full of zucchini and am constantly looking for new ways to prepare it, I took the discovery of the recipe as a sign that I should needed to make it as soon as humanly possible. 

I made a lot of changes to the recipe.  I don't have a grill, so I toasted the bread in a large skillet and roasted the zucchini in the oven.  Instead of plopping the ricotta onto the bread along with the zucchini, I spread a thick layer of goat cheese on the toast before topping it with the zucchini.  Also, since I didn't want to eat big raw basil leaves (the flavor can be very strong), I chopped the basil and cooked it with the zucchini.  All in all, it was a very satisfying and tasty dinner.

Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Goat Cheese, and Basil
Adapted from Real Simple

6 thick slices of french bread
4 oz goat cheese
1 large zucchini
3 tablespoons chopped basil (about 7-8 large leaves)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the zucchini in half and cut lengthwise into thin slices.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.  Spread out slices in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil and toast until golden brown in a large skillet over medium heat.  Transfer to a plate. Spread a thick layer of goat cheese on each slice and top with a pile of zucchini.

Note: I enjoyed the toasts with the thin zucchini messily piled high.  David liked it better with thicker slices of zucchini laid flat on the toasts.  Both ways are delicous.

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