Blistered tomato and zucchini tartines with whipped feta and fresh basil: A delicious way to use up summer's bounty in a satisfying snack or light lunch.I can hardly keep up with the burst of summer produce at the farmers market right now. Tomatoes, zucchini, and basil grow like weeds here in the south, so if I'm not picking up bumper crops of squash at the market, I'm receiving (literal) baskets of them from my neighbors. (WINNING.)
And you'd be right to assume that every pasta, salad, and sheet pan of roasted veggies prepared in my apartment right now includes one of the three previously mentioned. Not complaining!This recipe does a wonderful job of harnessing the health benefits of these summer crops. Both tomatoes and zucchini are excellent sources of immune-boosting vitamin C, plus good sources of fiber. Red tomatoes also contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant linked to a lower risk of certain cancers.
Peak-season cherry tomatoes need just a few minutes in the hot pan to burst and release their juices. They're a natural match for basil's clean, bright flavor, adding additional layers of flavor and brightness.Most whipped feta recipes called for cream cheese, but I found that Greek yogurt does the job just fine. Feel free to toss some garlic, herbs, or a pinch of coriander in the blender too!
When it comes to buying feta, there are benefits to the brine, and by that I mean the stuff that comes packed in a plastic container full of salt water (as opposed to the pre-crumbled or vacuum-sealed varieties). It helps the texture of the cheese stay smooth and creamy, and the flavor sharp and tangy. I used fresh sourdough for the base of these beauties, but use any bread you have on hand. Just keep the slabs thick so they can withstand the weight of the toppers.
Serve these hearty tartines as an appetizer or for lunch al fresco alongside a crisp salad. There's officially only 20 minutes standing between you and summer nirvana.
Blistered Tomato and Zucchini Tartines with Whipped Feta
- ¾ cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium zucchinis sliced lengthwise into thin planks
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 6 thick pieces sourdough bread or bread of choice
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- Place cheese in a blender or food processor and pulse until crumbled. Add yogurt, lemon zest and juice; blend on low speed just until combined and smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a cast iron grill pan over high heat. Add zucchini planks; grill 2 minutes on each side, or until char marks appear. Set aside.
- Add 1 additional Tbsp. of oil to the pan. Add tomatoes and let sit two minutes, undisturbed, until blistered. Toss gently and cook for another minute. Mix and cook for 1 more minute, each time allowing the tomatoes to brown a bit and blister. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
- Brush remaining 1 Tbsp. oil evenly on each side of bread slices. Place bread on grill pan. Toast each side for 2 minutes, or until golden-brown hatch marks appear. Set aside.
- To prepare, spread whipped feta evenly over grilled bread. Top with blistered tomatoes and grilled zucchini planks. Garnish with fresh basil.