Sunday, June 22, 2014

Picnic Zucchini Roll Ups

This is the season for picnics, boating, fireworks shows and dining au pleine aire.  Finger foods make the easiest fare.  Zucchini Roll Ups can cover a lot of ground as a salad, side or even dip and crudité. 

If you are planning an outing these are best made all or in part a day ahead.  They keep well and prevent last minute crunch time in the kitchen. 

Zucchini Roll Ups

18-20 rolls

1 medium-large zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature so it mixes and spreads easily
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon each fresh, chopped herbs: mint, parsley, basil
Optional filler: roasted red pepper strips, steamed asparagus, julienned carrot, etc
18-20 pitted olives
18-20 cherry or grape tomatoes
18-20 toothpicks

  1. Slice zucchini on a mandolin or vegetable peeler into wafer thin slices.  You may cut the zucchini in half cross wise before slicing or cut the slices in half once cut, whichever is easier for you and your tools.  Aim to end up with 18 zucchini slice halves. 
  2. Brush slice with olive oil, salt and pepper each slice.  Place slices on a cookie sheet and broil 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove zucchini when they are just browning and still flexible.  
  3. Stack 4-5 slices and roll each slice.  Leave to cool. (You can continue at this point or refrigerate zucchini overnight and finish recipe the following day.)  
  4. While zucchini cools, prepare filling. Mix together cream cheese, ricotta and herbs.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
  5. Finish by unrolling a stack of zucchini slices.  Place slices on a paper towel and turn over to remove a bit of olive oil.  This will make spreading the cheese mixture easier.  
  6. Using a spoon and butter knife or two spoons, dab a spoonful of cheese mixture on each slice and spread to cover slice completely with cheese.  
  7. If you are using a filler, like a piece of roasted red pepper, lay it on the cheese, perpendicular to the zucchini slice.  Roll and secure with a toothpick.  Add an olive to one end and a tomato to the other end of the toothpick to secure zucchini roll in place.  
  8. Store rolls in an airtight container and keep chilled until serving.