Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grilled Vegetable Stacked Salad

This is one of those summery salads to fuel my dreams of escaping to Italy. When I eat it I can feel a light breeze against my face as I imagine myself dining on a high patio nestled along the Amalfi coastline.

It has many of the flavors I associate with Italy and I can't help but close my eyes during each delicious forkful. The grilled eggplant is especially tasty and creamy. Thick slices from a milky ball of fresh mozzarella melting between the hot vegetable layers is heaven.
1 ball of fresh mozzarella

1 large eggplant
1 large yellow squash
1 large zucchini
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Small handful green and purple basil leaves, torn, to serve
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Cut the mozzarella into 6-8 thick slices. Set aside.

Cut vegetables into 6-8 thick slices. Eggplant first, then cut zucchini and squash at an angle for a larger grilling surface. Cut the ends off the tomatoes and cut in half horizontally. Brush oil and crack salt on both sides of the vegetables. Grill over medium for about 3 minutes per side. The tomatoes will cook faster so place them around the outer border of the grill. Set aside.

Assembly: Slice of eggplant, zucchini, mozzarella, squash then tomato on top. Dress with basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Crack over fresh black pepper to taste.

Makes 6-8 stacked salads depending on the size of the vegetables.

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