A Bitten Word Recipe
Some meals are borne out of light-bulb inspiration moments, while others are borne out of necessity.
In the case of this Grilled Panzanella Salad, it was a little of both.
We were putzing around the house yesterday, with Clay doing some reading and Zach doing a bit of writing. Suddenly, we were famished. "I have got to eat something."
We were tempted to go and grab a sandwich. But we were also being taunted by our Vegetable Board, whose list seemed to be growing longer, not shorter, by the day.
A few weeks ago we had the idea of making a grilled version of a panzanella salad. Grilled anything is on our minds these days, and really, why not try a panzanella on the grill?
Ninety-nine percent of the reason we wanted to make this salad is that we had a half a loaf of good quality bread sitting in our fridge, leftover from the recent visit of Zach's mom.
Believe it or not, we rarely buy bread, unless we're making burgers or have a specific use in mind. It's just not one of the staples we keep around the house.
But this bread was lovely, a country wheat that we had picked up at the farmers market last Sunday. We hated to see the remaining half-loaf go to waste, and truthfully it was probably past its prime in terms of sandwiches. It was the perfect inspiration for this bread salad.
We'd never made a panzanella before, but we know the basic ingredients, so we did this recipe in three stages.
First, we grilled the bread on its own, lightly brushed with olive oil and cut into fat cubes.
Then we grilled the vegetables that had been tossed with olive oil. We did ours in a Mesh Chef's Pan, a gift we received recently from a friend. You can do them in any kind of grill basket or, if you don't have a grill basket, you can cut them into larger pieces, grill them, and then cut them smaller once they're finished cooking.
And finally, we made a mustard and garlic vinaigrette and tossed it with the bread and vegetables.
This was a 'WOW' salad. The flavors were big and bold. The grilled vegetables had a nice, smoky char, punched up by the garlicky vinaigrette. We could barely keep our fingers out of the bowl as were snapping these photos.
We think this would be a fun salad to make when guests are over. Grill everything right there on the patio and toss it all together at the table. They'll be wowed for sure.
And if you find yourself with a fridge full of summer produce, well, now you know what to do.
Grilled Panzanella Salad
A Bitten Word Recipe
This Grilled Panzanella Salad serves two as a light lunch or dinner, or four as a first course. Total time is 30 to 40 minutes, including the time needed to prep vegetables.
For the salad:
• 2 cups good-quality bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 3 small zucchini, sliced into 1-inch pieces
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 2 medium to large tomatoes, cubed into 1 inch pieces
• 1 red onion, cubed into 1-inch pieces
• 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
• 10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the vinaigrette:
• 3 parts olive oil (we used a smoked oil)
• 1 part balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt and pepper to taste
Heat grill over medium-high heat. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill lightly on each side, until bread is nicely browned and has grill marks. Remove to a plate.
Toss zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place grill basket on the grill and transfer vegetables to the basket. Grill, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are nicely caramelized and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by combining vinegar, garlic and mustard in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer vegetables to a large bowl or serving dish. Toss with bread, basil and vinaigrette and serve.