Chargrilled zucchini roll-ups deliver summery garden flavours

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – Zucchini seem to be one of the most stuff-able vegetables. They can be halved lengthwise and scooped into little boats, then filled and baked; or hollowed out into tubes, stuffed and simmered in sauce.

Here’s yet another way to fill a summer squash, one much more in line with the relaxed, outdoor cooking and eating the season calls for. It starts with fresh zucchini sliced lengthwise into planks, brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and grilled. But instead of stopping there, it gets used in an exciting new way as a wrapper for fresh, tasty fillings.

In the accompanying recipe, each tender, chargrilled zucchini ribbon gets a dollop of lemon and garlic-seasoned white bean mash spooned onto one end. It’s then topped with peppery arugula and floral basil, then rolled up into a beautiful bite-size bundle that tastes like a mouthful of summer – light and fresh, filled with garden flavours, and backed by the substance of creamy beans.

What makes this recipe fun is how flexible it is – any type of bean or a different creamy filling – think goat or feta cheese whipped with herbs – can be substituted for the beans. And, any combination of tender leaves and herbs – such as baby kale, spinach or Bibb lettuce and parsley, cilantro, mint or dill – can be used.

However you stuff it, this delightfully different dish is ideal as a snack, starter or as a part of small plates, and one that will give you a whole new perspective on the possibilities of simply grilled zucchini.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI ROLL-UPS

Thirty minutes. Four servings

Here, grilled zucchini is served up in an exciting new way: Rolled into bite-size bundles filled with lemon and garlic-seasoned mashed white beans, peppery arugula and floral basil. Light and fresh, the roll-ups taste of summer and are filled with garden flavours. With the substance of creamy beans, you can savour them as a snack, starter or as a spread of small plates.

Make Ahead: The zucchini may be grilled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days before assembling. The roll-ups may be assembled up to one day before serving and refrigerated in an airtight container.

INGREDIENTS

Three medium zucchini (about eight ounces each)

Two tablespoons olive oil, divided

A quarter teaspoon plus an eighth teaspoon kosher salt, divided

A quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

Half teaspoon finely minced garlic (one clove)

Half cup low-sodium canned white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed

Two teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Two cups (two ounces), lightly packed, baby arugula

A third cup fresh basil leaves

STEPS

Trim the tops and bottoms off the zucchini, then slice them lengthwise into a quarter-inch thick slices using a sharp knife or mandolin. Set aside the outermost slices of zucchini for another use. Brush the centre slices on both sides using one tablespoon oil and sprinkle with an eighth teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the zucchini until tender and grill marks have formed, about three minutes per side.

Place the garlic onto a cutting board and sprinkle with the remaining a quarter teaspoon salt. Using the flat side of the knife and dull edge of the blade, mash the garlic and salt together to form a paste; transfer to a small bowl. Add the beans, lemon juice and the remaining one tablespoon oil and an eighth teaspoon pepper. Using a fork, smash the ingredients together to form a chunky mash.

Spoon about one teaspoon of the bean mixture half-inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few arugula leaves and one small or half large basil leaf. Roll the zucchini slice up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, beans, arugula and basil.