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Grilled Vegetable Salad with Sicilian Vinaigrette
This recipe will make lot of extra Sicilian Vinaigrette to have on hand. Use it to marinate chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, scallops, shrimp, or fish fillets before grilling. Toss with salad greens and top with pistachios and orange segments. Toss with lentils or quinoa, and leftover grilled vegetables, for a great lunch.
This recipe was adapted from Mario Batali's recipe for Capri-style grilled vegetables in his amazing book Italian Grill. He had this salad on the Isle of Capri; I had a similar version in Catania, Sicily. Those Italians are famous for stealing ideas from the Sicilians!
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Colman's dry mustard (please make sure it smells fresh; stale mustard won't give the dressing the same bite)
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 orange
- zest of 1 orange
- kosher salt, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, and the fresh orange juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
- Add salt to taste.
- If you are using only as a marinade, add the orange zest too. Otherwise, it will be sprinkled over the vegetable salad before serving.
- 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, 1/2 inch slices
- 2 red and 2 yellow bell peppers, quartered, seeds removed
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (use a mandoline if you have one)
- 2 medium red onions, cut into 6-8 wedges each, keeping root intact
- 1head radicchio, cored and cut into 6 wedges
- 12 spears of asparagus, woody ends snapped or cut off
- 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
- Make the SIcilian Vinaigrette. Set aside.
- Heat the grill to medium high. Make sure you vigorously clean the grill to get rid of last night's fish or steak remnants.
- Prepare the vegetables. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and brush with Sicilian vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt.
- Grill the vegetables in batches, until soft and nicely charred on both sides. Set aside on a nice platter when done. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces, and the eggplant into strips.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the Sicilian Vinaigrette, and sprinkle with the orange zest. Top with the slivered basil. Garnish with whole basil leaves. Add more salt to taste.
Warm Lentil Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette
You can toss the lentils with the Sicilian Vinaigrette, or try this decidedly French mustardy version. This recipe is loosely adapted from Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking. l like her mustardy vinaigrette very much on so many things. If you have some nice salt in your pantry, such as fleur de sel or Maldon, sprinkle it over your warm lentil salad for a contrasting crunch.
Serves 4, with leftover vinaigrette
For the lentils:
- 1 cup French green "Puy" lentils, or black "Beluga" lentils (the ones that look like caviar)
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon, or fleur de sel, for garnish
- handful of Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
- optional and delicious: a few tablespoons of goat cheese on top, and/or homemade croutons
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or Banyuls vinegar if you have some
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Wash the lentils in cold water, and pick out any pebbles. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Throw in a bay leaf.
- Bring lentils to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a gentle simmer (barely bubbling) for 15 minutes. Check for doneness: they should be soft all the way through, but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the olive oil slowly to form an emulsion. Add pepper and more salt to taste.
- When the lentils are done, drain in a fine mesh sieve and discard the bay leaf.
- Using the same pan, sauté the shallot, carrot and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. After a minute, add the garlic and sauté briefly, taking care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat.
- Add the warm lentils to the sauteed vegetables and toss.
- Toss the lentils with about half of salad dressing to moisten; use more if you like. Top with goat cheese and croutons, if using, and the crunchy salt and fresh parsley.
- Serve alone or with endive spears, or atop a bed of greens, drizzled with more vinaigrette.