It's about that time - time for another epic WGC salad. This time in the form of a Grilled Eggplant Panzanella.
It's been 25 days since our last panzanella and that's just too long. Especially when it's summer time and we have produce to eat. I don't know about you guys, but I've been going crazy at the markets. I buy so many fruits and vegetables I have them on every surface in my kitchen and I'm desperately trying to use them up by the end of the week. Last week I bought $50 worth of tomatoes. Who am I? They were just so gorgeous... I couldn't resist!!
So in an effort to use up all the incredible things I snagged from the market - let me introduce you to this Grilled Eggplant Panzanella.
Like other panzanellas, it has the most epic croutons on earth that will eventually soak up the vinaigrette and all the juices from the tomatoes so they are majorly packed with flavor. And instead of just keeping things traditional in a panzanella, since when have I ever done that, this one is loaded with grilled eggplant, tons of fresh herbs like basil, mint and scallions and tomatoes. It's picture perfect. And so flavorful. So go forth and make it!! You won't regret it!
Grilled Eggplant Panzanella
- 1 ½ pounds eggplants the small asian varieties work best!
- Olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound tomatoes heirlooms or cherry tomatoes, cored or cut into chunks
- 1 bunch scallions sliced
- 1 cup torn croutons recipe below
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs: basil mints, chives
For the Croutons
- 1 loaf French bread a few days old
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Tear the bread into crouton sized pieces. Transfer bread to a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle the bread with the olive oil and butter and then sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Using your hands, gently toss the croutons and make sure they are coated with all the oils, butters and seasonings.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
- Trim the ends off the eggplants, halve them lengthwise, and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Set them in a big colander and leave for 1-2 hours to drain.
- Heat a grill to medium-high.
- Blot the moisture and excess salt off of the eggplants. Grill the eggplants until they are lightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside, about 10 minutes total. After the eggplants are cooked, transfer them into a large bowl. Add the vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and freshly cracked black pepper and toss to combine. Add the tomatoes, scallions, croutons, and herbs and toss. Add ½ cup olive oil and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let the dish sit for a few minutes so the tomato juices soak into the croutons and serve at room temperature.