Mondays and Thursdays are long. To be honest, most days are long this time of year. But on Thursday, we get up at 4:30am to bake granola and biscuits, make hummus and pesto, and roast coffee beans. Then, we head to the farm to work. We always hit the wall. Or, as Matt said today, the wall hit him. Sometimes we squeeze in a nap. Generally, Matt squeezes in the nap. He can lie down and be asleep within a couple minutes. I have to coax my brain to shut down before I can sleep, which usually takes a good half hour. So, today Matt napped, but I have not.
Having time for a tasty lunch is also something tough to accomplish on Thursdays because we’ve been cooking all day and just…don’t…want….to. Matt, the sweetheart he is, offered to make lunch today and I’m so glad he did. He whipped up this pretty amazing Panzanella Salad fairly quickly and with minimal prep. Heating the grill took the most time.
As we head into mid-August, our fridge tends to be bursting with fresh produce. Today was no exception. He pulled out a handful of colorful vegetables and went to work. The result was a salad with subtle smokey flavors, sweet tomatoes, crunchy garlic rubbed bread, amazing feta cheese, and just a hint of tang from the white wine vinegar.
One quick note about cheese. I absolutely believe good quality cheese is worth spending a little extra money. The feta we used today is one I order because it’s so darn amazing. Dakotamart has a pretty diverse specialty cheese section. They have a blue cheese from Faribault, MN that is one the best I’ve had…and trust me, I’ve had a lot of cheese from all over the world. It’s fascinating for me. We also really love to splurge and order from Murray’s Cheese. They have so many different varieties from a number of countries. Treat yourself and order a little something sometime.
Ok, onto the recipe. This is great because it uses up a bunch of vegetables at one time. Great way to empty the fridge!! Plus, the vegetables truly shine because there are minimal seasonings added.
Grilled Vegetable Panzanella Salad
* serves 2
- 2 thick slices B&G Produce Rustic Wheat Bread (I also think Six Seed, Rosemary Gruyere, Bacon Blue Cheese, or any of our savory breads would work well here.)
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 2-3 tomatoes, rough chopped
- a couple springs of parsley, leaves chopped
- Feta cheese, a couple ounces crumbled
- 2 small or 1 large bell pepper (green, orange, red, or yellow), stem and seeds removed
- 1 Japanese eggplant or small oval eggplant, sliced lengthwise somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick
- 2 Zucchini or Summer Squash (we used a green and yellow zucchini), sliced lengthwise somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick
- 2 small or 1 medium red onion, quartered (leave on the root end to help hold the onion together when grilling)
- Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
- Olive oil, generous glug
- White wine vinegar, splash
- Heat your grill until it’s nice and hot.
- In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, parsley, and Feta cheese. Add Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and set aside to let flavors meld.
- Season the vegetables with Kosher salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil.
- When grill is hot, add bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini/summer squash, and red onion. Once they have nice grill marks and are cooked, remove and cool slightly. Chop into inch pieces. Toss into a large bowl.
- Add bread to grill. Once the bread has nice grill marks, remove. Rub both sides with garlic. Slice into inch pieces. Add to the bowl with grilled vegetables.
- Stir in the tomato mixture.
- Add a nice glug of olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar.
- Stir everything together and taste. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Enjoy!