Grilled Multi-Grain Toast with Whipped Lemon-Thyme Feta, Grilled Summer Squash, and Arugula

I grow a colorful collection of summer squash on the farm, and since the flavor of summer squash is best not long after picking, I like to head straight to the grill when our squash start coming in—usually in late June or early July. I pop a few slices of multi-grain bread on the grill, too, and with a smear of Whipped Lemon-Thyme Feta (so good!) and a bit of arugula, I’ve got a satisfying early summer supper.  

Makes 4 toasts

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 or more tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or mint (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons black olive tapenade
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ to 1 pound summer squash (any kind, any color, including zucchini and pattypans) trimmed and cut into slices about 3/8-inch thick (Cut diagonal or long slices for easiest grilling.) 
  • 4 half-inch thick slices multi-grain peasant bread (large slices—about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide—are ideal)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons Whipped Lemon-Thyme Feta (recipe below), at room temperature
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups baby arugula leaves

1. In a shallow mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley or mint (if using), the tapenade, the garlic, the 2 teaspoons honey, the lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add the squash slices, toss, and let sit, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Brush both sides of the bread slices generously with olive oil. Season with salt.

3. Heat a gas grill to medium-high. If the squash slices are small, put an enameled grill tray (aka grill topper) in the grill to heat so that you won’t lose squash through the grill grates. Transfer the squash slices to the grill (reserving the marinade), and arrange them directly on the grill grates or grill tray. Cook until the bottoms are marked, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip gently with tongs and continue to cook until bottoms are marked and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. (Cooking times may be a bit longer if using a grill topper.) Transfer the squash to a plate.

4. Arrange the bread slices on the grill and cook, flipping once, until marked on both sides and browned around the edges, about 2 minutes per side.

5. Toss the arugula with a pinch of salt and a few teaspoons of the leftover squash marinade.

6. Spread about 1½ tablespoons of the Whipped Feta on each piece of toast. Arrange some arugula leaves over the feta. Arrange the squash slices, overlapping, over the arugula. Garnish with one or two more arugula leaves and drizzle with a little bit of honey, if desired. Cut the toasts in half or crosswise into five or six pieces (for easiest eating) and serve.  

Whipped Lemon Thyme Feta 

Bursting with flavor, this versatile spread keeps well in the fridge for about a week, and you can use it on toast, with pasta, added to eggs and frittatas, or in salads. Start with good quality feta and crumble it just before processing. (Don’t buy pre-crumbled feta). Some feta is denser than others, so keep pulsing and processing until you reach a spread-like consistency, and add a little more olive oil if you need to.

Yields 1 1/3 cups

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound feta cheese, broken into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon (loosely packed) thyme leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, mint, or a combination (optional)

1. In a small skillet or saucepan, combine the olive oil, the garlic slices, and the red pepper flakes over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring, until the oil is bubbling and the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the feta cheese, the infused olive oil, the lemon zest and the thyme leaves. Process, pulsing several times and stopping to scrape down the sides repeatedly, until well-combined and lightened. Some feta will need more processing. If the mixture is still dense, add a bit more olive oil. Add the chopped parsley or mint (if using) and pulse until well-mixed.

3. Transfer to a storage container, cover well, and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

This recipe was originally published with the story Toast With the Most.