This salad is a visual and textural beauty that will be the talk of your seasonal table. Serve a cruet of extra virgin olive oil on the side for a transcendent experience.
- 1/2 loaf day-old rustic bread, cut into 2-inch slices
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for dressing the salad
- 1 Japanese eggplant, cut into quarters lengthwise
- 1 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters and seeded
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into quarters and seeded
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch basil leaves, stemmed and torn
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, red or yellow or a mix, halved
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or more to taste
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. (Alternatively, use a grill pan.)
Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until well toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. (Watch carefully.) Cut into 1-inch croutons, place in a large salad bowl, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onion. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Arrange the vegetables on the grill and cook on all sides until tender-crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and allow the vegetables to cool. Cut everything into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the bread. Add the basil, tomatoes, and cheese and toss to combine. Add vinegar and as much olive oil as needed to dress the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from gnarlyhead.com