For a light summery lunch or simple appetizer, grill up some rustic bread, slather it with garlic-oil doused ricotta and top with grilled zucchini ribbons. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Photo: Michael Tercha/TNS
Photo: Michael Tercha/TNS

Start your cookout with grilled zucchini over ricotta-smeared bruschetta

"Adulting" can be pronounced two ways: with dripping sarcasm or bristling scorn. After all, adult is best unadulterated. Either you can hoist a credit score, fix a flat and fold a fitted sheet, or you’re not.

Disqualifying many. I’m happy to soothe the unruly heap of shorts and slacks. Sheets: No. They leap out of the dryer tangled into vicious knots; best to ball and shove in a deep closet — one that locks. 

Recently, a friend (OK, the internet) explained a calm approach: Stack up the four corner points. Ignore the antics of the springy elastics. While they’re busy roughhousing, sandwich them into a square as neat and smooth as ricotta on white bread. 

The first time I worked this trick, I dropped the neat, white square on the dining room table for everyone to admire. No one did. So I swapped it out for ricotta on white. It was tastier than laundry and nearly as adult. 

——— 

SUMMER SANDWICH 

Prep: 15 minutes 

Grill: 4 minutes 

Makes: 2 open-face sandwiches 

1/2 cup olive oil, about 

1 fat clove garlic, mashed 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese 

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 

1 small (1/2-pound) zucchini 

2 slices country or sourdough bread 

1. Season: Pour oil into a small bowl. Drop in garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Let rest at least 10 minutes. 

2. Mix: Stir together ricotta, thyme and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Slice: Trim zucchini. Use a mandoline or a vegetable peeler to slice the long way into 1/4-inch thick strips. 

4. Brush: Paint the bread on both sides with the seasoned oil. Paint the zucchini strips on both sides with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

5. Grill: Prepare a medium-hot grill. Grill bread and zucchini strips over direct heat until bread is crunchy and zucchini is bright green at the edges and striped with grill marks, about 2 minutes per side for both. 

6. Build: Set bread on each of two plates. Schmear with ricotta. Top with grilled zucchini. Grind on more pepper and drizzle with a bit of the oil. Munch.

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