After a seven-month hiatus, one would think that I'd come back with some momentously intensive recipe and not just casual instructions for sandwich fixings, but...its summer. Livin' is easy, etc. Plus, no one wants to even think about firing up an oven. Zucchini and its yellow kin are in season and I can't get enough, so I'm presenting one of my favorite ways to consume them: as grilled slabs between two toasted pieces of bread. Add spreads of zippy, lemon-zesty ricotta, verdant kale pistou, and a beading bottle of crisp beer, and you have yourself a perfect summer sup.
Summer Squash, Ricotta and Kale Pistou Panini
Makes two sandwiches
*2 summer squash: green, yellow, or one of each
*1/2 cup ricotta, drained (and preferrably homemade)
*1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
*Handful of basil leaves, 1 cut in chiffonade
*3 leaves kale, torn into pieces
*1 heaping tablespoon almonds
*1 fat clove garlic
*4 thick slices of rustic bread
Slice the squash lengthwise with a mandoline or a steady, guiding hand into strips no thicker than 1/4 inch, then sprinkle with salt and sit to drain in a colander for about 30 minutes (this, while your ricotta drains too, perhaps). Meanwhile, make the kale pistou by blitzing the greens, a handful of basil leaves, a garlic clove, almonds and S&P together into a thick paste, drizzling with a little olive oil to thin only slightly.
After the drainage is done, heat the panini press. Pat each slice of squash dry with a paper towel, and toss with some olive oil and pinches of S&P. Either grill or broil the slices (or do what I did and throw them into the panini press) for 3-4 minutes. Set aside and prep the ricotta by stirring in the lemon zest, pinches of S&P, and the chiffonade of basil. Take your bread slices and brush one side of each with a touch of olive oil, then compose the panini by spreading half of the ricotta mix on one interior side, kale pistou on the other, and then sandwich squash slices between them. Press for 4 minutes or so in the panini maker.