Mat's Zucchini Grilled Cheese
- 4 slices whole wheat sandwich bread (I prefer regular wheat over honey wheat so the sweetness of the bread doesn't overpower the flavor of the zucchini.)
- 1 medium or large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 4 oz. cheddar cheese,* thinly sliced (Munster, american, provalone, or Monterey Jack will do)
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Few pinches of salt and few turns of the pepper mill
Optional: Texas Pete or another straight-forward hot sauce.
*I know it's kind of sacrilegious to eat low-fat cheese but Cabot's 50% fat cheddar works just fine in this sandwich and I have used it on many occasions.
Preheat cast iron skillet on medium. You can use a well-seasoned traditional or enamel skillet. Any pan will do, but the way cast iron holds heat creates a nice, crisp crust.
Put the sliced zucchini on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper and then use your fingers to rub the oil and seasonings into the zucchini, coating every surface.
Fill the hot pan with zucchini slices, laying them flat, without crowding or overlapping. Cook till browned on one side, 3-4 minutes. Flip the slices, then brown the other side, 2-3 minutes. These times are a guide. Keep an eye on them and use your judgement. In our house, we like them really browned, with some charred bits, but I expect most people prefer a more delicate, golden brown as shown in the photo.
Once the slices are done on both sides, move them to the prep plate and add the next batch of zucchini. Depending on the size of the zucchini and your pan, it will take 2-3 batches.
While the zucchini is cooking, thinly slice cheese using a knife or the slicing side of a box grater. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Once the pan is free of zucchini, place one or two pieces of bread in the pan (depending on your pan size), buttered side down. Carefully place the cheese slices on the bread, covering the entire surface, then top with another slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook on medium-low until brown, 2-3 minutes on 1st side, slightly less on the second side. Again, watch carefully and adjust time accordingly.
After removing the sandwich from the pan, let sit for a minute, then carefully, using your fingers, pry apart the two pieces of bread, without breaking them, layer half the zucchini in the middle, dot with Texas Pete or your favorite hot sauce, close it back up and if necessary continue with the second sandwich. Delicious warm or room temperature.
Vegan option: Prepare zucchini as directed, toast the bread, spread Earth Balance on toast, then layer with zucchini and hot sauce. I like to eat the vegan version open face.