Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A grilled veggie salad.

On Tuesday night, the night before our new box delivery, we had one remaining planned meal to tackle for the week.  I kept putting it off because it required firing up the grill and tending to veggies, then bread.  That seemed like a lot of grill face time for 100 degree weather.  But Tuesday rolled around and I could put it off no longer.  And honestly, I didn't have to hover over the grill, just flip veggies once, pull them off, and quickly sear some bread to serve alongside the main dish.  Let me tell you, it was totally worth it.  Plus, it only got up to 95 degrees yesterday, so I didn't have much right to complain.  We've seen worse.
Now I'm looking toward the weekend, when we are planning to tackle a number of projects around the house (including painting our master bath gray and updating all the hardware) - and it's going to be 100 degrees on Sunday for the Fourth.  Awesome.  What can I avoid grilling that night as well?  I'll be sure to share.
This is a bean-based salad, made with red kidney beans and grilled zucchini, pepper, and onion, enrobed in an orange-sherry vinaigrette.  I tossed in some of the winter savory from our box for good measure, but you definitely don't need it.  It's served with grilled, garlic-kissed bread, upon which to pile the salad or soak up extra vinaigrette.  Like most of the recipes I like to make, this simple enough to make on a weeknight, as I did.  It comes from Jack Bishop's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen," my all-time favorite cookbook and the one to which I turn with the most consistency over the years.  Jack Bishop is the editor of Cook's Illustrated, and it shows in the precision of his recipes.  They never fail.
So ignore the heat and fire up the grill.  You won't be sorry.

Grilled Vegetable and Kidney Bean Salad with Grilled Bread
Adapted from Jack Bishop's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen"

2 red onions, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch planks 
1 red bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon fresh winter savory, minced (optional, or sub in fresh thyme)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 thick slices of white artisan bread, such as pugliese
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced in half
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Light the grill to medium heat.  Toss the onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, winter savory, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.  Grill for 12 minutes, turning the vegetables once about halfway through.  Remove the veggies from the grill and let them cool for a few minutes.  Chop into roughly 1/2 inch pieces.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette in a large bowl.  Combine the orange juice, sherry vinegar, and parsley.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste, until smooth.  Add the beans and grilled veggies and toss to coat. 

Using the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brush the bread slices on both sides with the oil.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Grill for two to three minutes, flipping once, until the bread has dark grill marks.  Remove from the grill and rub each slice of warm bread with the cut side of the garlic. 

Sprinkle each serving with some goat cheese.  Serve the salad with bread on the side. 

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