On a recent episode of the Seattle Kitchen podcast, Chefs Tom Douglas and Bridget Charters were talking summer grilling tips and Tom mentioned panzanella salad with grilled flank steak as a perfect one dish meal. Everything about it sounded delicious — greens, mozzarella, asparagus, basil vinaigrette. It was all the suggestion I needed.
We ate a lot of meat over the holiday weekend between burgers and steaks and the killer corned beef I had for lunch yesterday, so I put together a grilled panzanella salad with zucchini, local asparagus and a basil vinaigrette. And it’s pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. Thanks, Tom!
There are few keys here:
—Let the grilled veg cool so it doesn’t wilt and warm everything.
—Make the basil vinaigrette (which is adapted from Food and Wine). I did a slightly different version with just a basic red wine vinaigrette and feta in place of the mozzarella. It was fine, but it wasn’t, “Wow, that’s really delicious.” Get the basil.
—Get a good Italian loaf. Grand Central Bakery‘s Piccolo Como is practically our house loaf, so get it, if you can. Otherwise, you want a firm Italian loaf, not the spongy soft grocery store variety, which will just sog out.
Grilled Panzanella SaladPrint Recipe
- 1/2 lb. asparagus, washed and woody ends trimmed
- 1 medium zucchini, quartered
- 3-4 slices of Grand Central Piccolo Como (or other Italian loaf)
- olive oil for drizzling
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6-8 ciliegini sized fresh mozzarella balls, halved
- 3 handfuls of fresh salad greens, rinsed and spun dry
- 1 T. pinenuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 c. packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 T. champagne or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat your grill on medium high ~450-500F.
Prep the asparagus, zucchini and bread and drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt.
Grill zucchini for 3-4 minutes, until just cooked through, turning once. Grill the asparagus for 5-7 minutes until it's is lightly charred and just cooked through. Put the bread on last, it'll take 1-2 minutes tops, turning once.
Let cool. Dice the zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces and cut the asparagus in thirds. Put them in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Dice the bread into 3/4-inch cubes.
To make the dressing, pulse the garlic clove in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the basil and process until finely chopped. With the machine running add the vinegar and olive oil, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Season with salt and pepper and pulse again to mix it in.
Add the salad greens, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes to the mixing bowl. Add the bread cubes. Pour the basil dressing over the top and toss by hand until evenly coated. Serve on a large platter and garnish with pinenuts.
Dressing is adapted from Food and Wine's Basil Vinaigrette: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/basil-vinaigrette