Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer's Bounty Salad

I love grilling vegetables in the summertime.  The intense heat of the grill intensifies the flavor and caramelizes the edges to bring out the sweetness.  This composed salad can be made with any combination of summer vegetables you may have on hand or find at the market that week.  I used slabs of eggplant and zucchini cut 1/2" thick, sweet onions, and red bell pepper.  Once grilled over medium heat until tender all the way through, the vegetables were tossed immediately in a red wine vinaigrette.
The warm vegetables are contrast with a cold salad of pear tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and fresh basil plus salty kalamata olives and caperberries.  Any type of cheese would be nice, especially a fresh goat cheese, and you could substitute whatever types of olives, pickles, or maybe giardiniera you may have on hand.  I included caperberries after seeing them at the deli counter.  The only time I had tried them before was a few years ago at a small Italian restaurant and I remembered really enjoying them.  Caperberries are the fruit that results from the caper bud being allowed to develop; they are bright and briny with a nice crisp texture.  The ones available at Central Market were a little too salty, but a brief soak in water will reduce the saltiness.  If you are a fan of olives, capers, and other briny goodness, they are worth tracking down.

The variety of flavors and textures keeps the salad plenty interesting, but some bread finishes out the meal nicely.  Any type of bread would be good - in fact, this reminds me a lot of plate of assorted breads, cheeses, and marinated vegetables I frequently had for lunch at Wheatfield's bakery in Lawrence.  I made my standard pizza dough and rolled it out into approximately 8 inch rounds which I lightly oiled and grilled.  Once off the heat, I rubbed the flatbread with a cut garlic clove.  Leftover, veggies, and mozzarella make a great panini the next day.  

Red Wine Vinaigrette

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Great on salad, vegetables, or even as a marinade.

1 comment:

  1. The pear tomatoes are very appealing in that gorgeous display of healthy veggies! I have grown to really enjoy veggies since I switched over to clean eating. I appreciate your post!!


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