Thick slices of grilled zucchini have always been an essential part of my family’s summertime repertoire, but always as a side dish. In thinking of how to repurpose them as the main act, I settled on this preparation, which uses zucchini-enriched tzatziki in addition to the grilled zucchini steaks, and stuffs it all into a fluffy, charred pita. Technically the zucchini ought to be grilled on skewers to be true “souvlaki,” so I’m taking some liberty with the name, which I hope you’ll agree is a bit more evocative than “sandwich.”
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh dill, packed
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Half of a small zucchini, grated, and 4 medium-large zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4–5 equal strips
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
Zest of half a large orange 6 Greek-style pitas
¼ pound feta cheese, for garnish
Light a charcoal grill or set a gas grill over medium-high.
In a small mixing bowl, prepare the tzatziki. Mix the yogurt, a pinch of salt to taste, two tablespoons olive oil, dill, garlic and grated zucchini. Cover and set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
On a large cutting board, brush the zucchini strips on both sides using 2 tablespoons olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Prepare a foil pack with the olives, orange zest and 1 tablespoon olive oil, wrapping it up tightly. Place the foil pack and zucchini (in batches, if necessary) on the grill. Grill the zucchini until well-browned, about 4 minutes a side, then transfer to a cutting board, let cool and cut into thirds. Remove the olives from the grill, open the pack and set aside to cool.
On a large cutting board, brush the pitas using the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and char on the grill, about 30 seconds to 1 minute a side.
Spoon generous dabs of tzatziki on each pita, then top with zucchini, olives and crumbled feta. This is good open-faced with a fork and knife, but I prefer to fold it up, messy as it may be…
LUKE PYENSON is a food and travel writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer based in New York City. You can see examples of his work at www.lukepyenson.com.