Grilled Bread, Broccoli Rabe, and Summer Squash Salad

Can I confess: I don't particularly care for salad. I find lettuces, for the most part, boring. I get tired of carrots and radishes and cucumbers. I just don't think I would do well on a raw diet. So I was delighted when I received this latest cookbook from Food 52 because I am always looking for ways to up my salad game.

And so I begin my foray into Mighty Salads with a fantastic grilled bread salad chock-full of grilled veggies and spectacular dressing made from the mayonnaise marinade. Yes, you heard me right. Mayonnaise marinade. Okay, maybe this salad is not the healthy-eating alternative I was longing for, as we kick off summer. But I still consumed about 729% more vegetables in this salad alone than I did the entire month of May. It's summer, and lordy, people, I have got to get this diet back to salads and soups and smoothies and healthy eating. Because lately it's been cheetos and chocolate. And this is just the cookbook to do it.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the salad, let's talk about the book, since it is a new acquisition. Gorgeous, slightly moody photography from James Ransom. Spectacular color choice for the introduction pages (I am a sucker these days for gray/green). Sixty recipes. Clever organization (Leafy Salads, Less Leafy Vegetable Salads (my section), Grain and Bean Salads, Pasta and Bread Salads, Fish and Seafood Salads). Yep. I am sold. It's looks like it's salad season for me.

From Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad, Farro and Golden Beet Salad with Chive-Sage Dressing, Steak and Tossed Salsa Verde Salad, to even Radiccio and Caulifloer with Currant-Anchovy Vinaigrette (see even one with leafy greens), I am excited about digging in, fork first.

So I did with Grilled Bread Broccoli Rabe and Summer Squash Salad. As I said, the mayonnaise marinade is a miracle. It means you need no dressing for the salad once the broccoli rabe (or in my case, baby broccoli) and the zucchini come hot off the grill. Just toss with the grilled bread, the pine nuts and the fresh herbs. May I recommend a fizzy little white wine with this? A hot June day? And a backyard? Because that's how we did it, and it was not a wasted afternoon, I promise you. 

Now I just need to crack the spine to peruse the Leafy Salads section. Maybe I'll come around.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Grilled Bread, Broccoli Rabe, and Summer Squash Salad

Adapted from Food 52's Mighty Salads

Serves 4

1 cup full-fat mayonnaise
½ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp Aleppo pepper or ½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 large bunch broccoli rabe or young broccoli
3 summer squash, cut into rounds (I did long slivers and survived)
¼ cup olive oil
4 thick slices of crusty bread, such as ciabatta or sourdough
salt and pepper
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
handful each of torn basil and mint
Freshly squeezed lemon juice for drizzling

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin seeds, Aleppo pepper, and paprika until smooth and fully integrated and emulsified.

2. Trim the broccoli rabe stalks. Cut any stalks that are more than ½-inch thick lengthwise. Add the broccoli rabe and summer squash to the marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

3.  Heat the grill to medium. Brush clean grates with olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, arrange the broccoli rabe and squash in a single layer on the grill. Grill until they are tender and blistered in some spots--a few minutes per side. Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet and spread in a single layer.

4. Evenly coat both sides of each bread slice with the olive oi Season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread, checking it frequesntly, until charred in spots but soft in the center, a few minutes per side. Move to the edges of the grill if they are charring too quickly. Let cool, and then cut into ½-inch cubes.

5.  Place the bread cubes, broccoli rabe, and summer squash on a large serving platter. Scatter the nuts, basil, and mint. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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