These unexpected appetizers from chef Theo Friedman are a beautiful balance of flavors and textures, and are far easier than you’d expect from the impressive results. Grated zucchini and onions are cooked down to a jam-like consistency with garlic, white balsamic, and thyme. The mixture melts into crunchy grilled sourdough toasts that are topped with smoked feta, fresh zucchini, and fragrant basil, plus halved Mexican sour gherkins for an extra pop. These gherkins taste like lemony cucumbers and look like tiny watermelons, but if you have trouble finding them, you can substitute small pieces of English cucumber squeezed with a little lemon juice, or simply leave them off.
See more from Theo Friedman here, and check out all the mouthwatering details from our farm-to-table dinner event hosted by Stella Artois and Feastly, where these toasts were first made.
If you’ve got a surplus of zucchini and are pressed for time, try our Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts recipe, and if you’ve got some left over for dessert, get our Zucchini Layer Cake with Tangy Buttercream Frosting recipe.
- 1 loaf sourdough, sliced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 pounds zucchini, grated
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic, lemon juice, or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon thyme, picked and minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup Mexican sour gherkins, quartered
- 1/2 cup baby zucchini, shaved into coins
- 1/2 cup bush, Thai, or opal basil, picked
Make zucchini jam and smoked feta:
- Light a grill and set up the charcoal or wood on one side.
- Place feta in a perforated sheet pan, set on the covered grill, and let smoke for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grate the zucchini on a box grater, then drain excess liquid in a colander.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot and sweat garlic and onion until translucent, about 6 minutes. Be careful not to let them brown.
- Add grated, drained zucchini and stir, cooking on low until zucchini is soft and jam-like, about 15 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt, acid (white balsamic, lemon juice, or sherry vinegar), and thyme.
- Brush sourdough bread slices with olive oil and grill until toasted.
- Spread the zucchini jam on the toasts.
- Top each piece with crumbled smoked feta, sour gherkins, sliced raw baby zucchini, basil, salt, and additional olive oil.