Sunday, April 4, 2010

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Grilling season is here!  The husband is in the midst of an amazing grilling triple-header this weekend.  Friday night was surf n' turf, tonight is grilled tilapia for fish tacos, and last night, we made an incredible Grilled Panzanella Salad, from my personal hero, Ina Garten.  Vegetarian and vegan friends, are you tired of eating mushroom after grilled portabello mushroom from April to October?  You have to try this beauty of a vegetarian side, which is actually special and filling enough to be a main dish.  I initially made Ina's regular Panzanella at Christmas this year, and it was a huge hit, but the grilled items really take this recipe to 11. 
Veggies, please just disregard the sausages at left... this recipe really is for you!
The peppers and onions take on a smoky sweetness, and the bread gets crisp and crunchy.  Meanwhile, the hothouse cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil (all not grilled), provide a fresh, sweet counterpoint.  The capers add the perfect little bite.  This salad is an instant classic, destined to appear at countless Summer 2010 SMJ barbecues.  You must try!
Good olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 large basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1/2 small ficelle, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1) Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.
2) In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
3) Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.
4) When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.
5) Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.
My grillmaster... one of my favorite sites of summer.
Happy Sunday! And Happy Easter!

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