Monday, July 6, 2009

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Although there are times traditional mayonnaise based potato salads taste good to me, in general I avoid them. Too often they are uninspired conglomerations of glop, with nothing to pique one's interest or appetite. Comfort food perhaps--if your idea of comfort is a massive intake of carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol--but unappetizing. On the other hand, grilled vegetables with cherry tomatoes in a basil vinaigrette are a Koko Taylor soul shake shout out to summer. Wang dang doodle indeed.

The inspiration for this recipe is from the Fields of Greens cookbook, a collection of vegetarian recipes that even meat-eaters can enjoy. Although I am hardly vegetarian, this is one of my favorite cookbooks. From salads to desserts, its recipes are creative, attractive, and delicious.

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Vegetables of your choice to grill
Baby new potatoes
Green beans, boiled 2-3 minutes until just cooked
Cherry tomatoes, halved

Wash new potatoes. Place in foil with 3 to 4 peeled cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of oil. Close foil packet and cook on grill over indirect heat for about 40 minutes. Open packet, remove potatoes and slice in half when cool.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Brush zucchini and potato halves with reserved oil from potatoes. Grill over medium-high 3 to 5 minutes until just cooked but still firm. Cut zucchini into 1 to 2 inch pieces.

Combine grilled vegetables with green beans and cherry tomatoes. Pour basil vinaigrette over and turn vegetables gently to cover evenly. Plate and serve.

The salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Basil Vinaigrette

6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS rice wine vinegar (Fields of Greens calls for champagne vinegar)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

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