ZUCCHINI-PROSCIUTTO PARCELS

Two ways to make these delicious little morsels, perfect as a little appetizer or even as a side-dish, which is how we served them. You can use a creamy cheese, such as ricotta, perhaps mixing a bit of egg yolk for added structure, but I opted for halloumi cheese, that retains its texture quite well during baking. The first method requires a mandolin to slice the zucchini, as you need really thin slices so that they bend. You could slice it thicker and blanch them before forming the parcels, but I prefer to skip that additional step.


ZUCCHINI-PROSCIUTTO PARCELS
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

1 or 2 large zucchini
prosciutto slices, one per appetizer
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
halloumi cheese cut in pieces, one per roll

Whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

If using ribbons, cut the zucchini in very thin slices, as thin as your mandolin will go. If using zucchini pieces, cut them in squares of a size similar to the cheese. Brush the zucchini with the emulsified oil-lemon. Assemble each little package, either rolling or stacking.

Place over aluminum foil on a baking sheet and bake at 400F util the prosciutto is golden brown (about 25 minutes, depending on size). The zucchini will release a lot of juice during baking but it will dry out as it continues roasting. Do not panic, it will look a little hopeless before it looks great…

Serve while warm.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know which version I prefer. The one with very thin zucchini slices looks a little more elegant but the zucchini pretty much disappears as far as taste and texture are concerned. The second way to do it makes the zucchini more prominent, but it does not look as good, so it’s really a matter of deciding which path you want to take. I do like the use of halloumi. If you go with a melting cheese, definitely do the zucchini ribbons to wrap the whole thing better.

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AIR-FRIED TOMATOES WITH HAZELNUT PESTO AND HALLOUMI CHEESE

No, no need to run away, you can make this in your oven if you do not have one of Lolita‘s sisters in your kitchen. But I am constantly finding reasons to use our air-fryer, and in this recipe it performed way beyond my expectations. The halloumi cheese turned out exactly the way we like it, with zero risk of burning as it often happens on the grill or even on a non-stick pan. You might be surprised that I would still handle hazelnuts without going into a hysterical fit, but it so happens that I had quite a bit leftover from  my 8th blog-anniversary cake.  I definitely need to use them up before they go rancid.  Come to think of it, I see a macaron blog post on the horizon… (wink, wink).

AIR-FRIED TOMATOES WITH HAZELNUT PESTO AND HALLOUMI CHEESE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the hazelnut pesto:
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon juice
olive oil to desired consistency

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced (about 4 slices per tomato)
Halloumi cheese, cut into thin slices
basil (I used some from grocery store, processed in a little oil)
Spring mix greens
olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to dress salad

Make the pesto by mixing the cheese, hazelnuts, parsley, salt and pepper in t a food processor. Process until smooth, then drizzle olive oil slowly until you reach the consistency you like, probably a little less than 1/3 cup should do it.

Lay the tomatoes on a baking dish, season lightly with salt, place a couple of teaspoons of the pesto on top, then lay a slice of halloumi cheese over the pesto.  Dab with a small amount of basil in oil. You can also use fresh basil if you prefer. Transfer the slices to the basket of the air-fryer, making sure to spray the basket with a little oil. Spray the tomato slices very lightly with olive oil, and cook at 390F for 10 to 12 minutes, until the halloumi cheese gets golden brown.  Carefully remove the slices and serve them over  Top with onion slices. Sprinkle with basil, red pepper, and sea salt. Transfer the assembled bites to the Air Fryer cooking basket. Drizzle with a nonstick cooking spray and cook for approximately 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the spring mix on a large serving platter, dress with olive oil and lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper. When the tomatoes are ready, carefully place them on top of the greens.  Serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These would work great by themselves as an appetizer, I suppose. Now, as you can see from the composite photo above, the air-fryer does not make a huge batch of food. I could have fitted maybe two more tomato slices inside, but that would be maximum capacity. The air-fryer is really perfect for a couple, or a couple with a young kid. Teenagers could present a challenge, they tend to eat impressive amounts of food, if I remember correctly… Better enjoy the advantages of a very high metabolic rate, right?  But coming back to these cute little babies, they were delicious indeed. I think the combination of any  type of pesto with tomato and cheese is a classic, but it’s nice to have a change of pace with the halloumi instead of mozzarella. Halloumi is so assertive, it has a grown-up feel. I love it. Wish it was a bit cheaper, though.

I’ve seen recipes that use the air-fryer to “fry” a bunch of tomatoes cut in half, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then blend them in a food processor and use as a basis for a chunky tomato sauce. Sounds pretty tasty to me, I intend to try that in the near future, but decided it was worth getting the thought out. If you try it, please let me know…

With this post, I give my first step into the 9th year of food blogging. Wow! Just wow!  Make sure to enter my giveaway in case  you missed the announcement in the previous post..

 

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