Grilled Antipasto Ribbon Salad
When it comes to preparing vegetables to cook, my modius operandi is to toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I typically will roast them in the oven because it requires the least amount of attention (see my Roasted Vegetable Salad), but if I am feeling a bit more ambitious, grilling is really my favorite way to cook vegetables. I love the smokey, charred flavor the grill imparts and since I acquired a grill pan, grilled vegetables were no longer restricted to only summer barbeques.
However, the grill pan does have its restrictions. I attempted to make my favorite Summer Squash Skewers on my grill pan but was unable to get them to cook evenly… mainly because I was too impatient to sit there and rotate the skewers. Luckily, I found the solution via ribbon slicing which I was introduced to by Lori Granito of Go Gourmet Catering during my recent foray into the Hong Kong catering world. The vegetables are thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler into long, flat ribbons which allows for faster and even cooking. It does require constant attention but each ribbon cooks so quickly, the overall process is not terribly time consuming.
Go Gourmet offers this grilled vegetable salad on their office express lunch menu and it is extremely delicious! I adapted the recipe for home as per below and it has quickly become a new favorite. I don’t really add any dressing as I feel the grilled vegetables and the canned vegetables are bursting with their own marinated flavors, but you can drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette if you choose.
We enjoy eating these grilled vegetables warm on top of a bed of salad mixed with olives, artichokes, and bell peppers, but we also love eating them alone as a side dish to a Simple Roast Chicken. The grilled vegetables are also a great antipasto snack when served cold.
Grilled Antipasto Ribbon Salad (recipe adapted from Go Gourmet)
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium Japanese eggplant (this more slender varietal is best for ribbon slicing)
- 1 can (14 oz) artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, sliced ** reserve the olive oil from the jar to toss with the zucchini and eggplant
- 1/2 C pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 3 T olive oil ** see note above about roasted bell peppers
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb Mesclun or spring mixed greens salad
- optional: fresh basil or parsley, shredded
Prepare your grill pan on high heat.
Trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler (or mandolin slicer), thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons. Repeat with the eggplant.
Toss the ribbon slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. You can also add in some dried herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, etc.
Using tongs, quickly grill the ribbon slices on one side until wilted and and lightly marked, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the grill to a baking sheet to let cool.
When the ribbons have slightly cooled, gently mix in the chopped artichokes, roasted bell peppers, and olives in a large bowl. This can be served as an antipasto itself or piled on a bed of salad. Optionally, sprinkle with fresh herbs.