Grilled Zucchini Rolls with herbed goat cheese

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There are times when a recipe falls into place so beautifully that you think some greater force must be at work. It is as though a translucent vision of Julia Child, adorned with wings and a halo, floated into my kitchen, laid the ingredients gently in my arms and with a beatific smile, uttered her immortal words, “Bon Appetit!” It could happen. Divine inspiration struck with the sudden appearance of a massive zucchini in my garden. I swear it was not there yesterday. The herbed goat cheese arrived on my doorstep just a few days ago, sent by the generous people at the Ile de France Cheese company. The kalamata olives? Well, olives of all types take up permanent residency in my fridge, regularly replenished as my salt-obsessed palate plows through container after container.

All that was left to do was grill the monstrous squash, mix together the tangy cheese and salty purple-black specimens, and incorporate it all into delectable little rolls. Serve a few of these as appetizers or for a light lunch, alongside a salad or bowl of soup. Heavenly.

Preheat grill to high heat.

Using 1 large zucchini or 3 small ones, slice a strip lengthwise from the zucchini to expose the inside of the vegetable. Discard or reserve for another use. Cut the 2 ends from the zucchini to make straight edges. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. If using a large zucchini, cut each of these strips in half crosswise. This won’t be necessary with small zucchini.

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Brush both sides of the zucchini pieces liberally with olive oil. Season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the zucchini pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angle (for more attractive grill marks). Cook until the zucchini is very tender, but not mushy, about 3 minutes per side, moving the pieces during cooking to ensure even browning.

Remove zucchini from the grill. Set a wire cooling rack on top of a bowl to give the cooling rack extra clearance from the counter. Drape the zucchini pieces on the rack to cool. This method will stop the zucchini from steaming will cooling.

Place 3 1/2 ounces herbed goat cheese in a medium bowl. Roughly chop 1 1/2 ounces pitted kalamata olives (about 7 to 8 olives) and stir into the goat cheese.

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Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture onto one side of each zucchini piece. Gently roll each piece of zucchini. Serve.

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