Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Sweat Summer

Ah, Summer, you with your oppressive humidity, I ain't sweatin' you. I'm just gonna stand right there in the glow of the grill flames and keep firing up some seasonal yumminess . Yes, we grilled us up some true Summertime beauties tonight. One recipe came courtesy of our friend Daphne's Kitchen and the other from the venerable and barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.

The Eggplant Bruschetta was Daphne's recipe. Keith happened by to try it out when Daph was grilling it and after sampling it, was ready to drop everything and make it right now. We decided to try it out tonight and I wanted something in addition, so I found Ina's Grilled Panzanella recipe.
Grilled Panzanella is a an Italian dish and this is a version of the bread salad popular in Tuscany.

The eggplant recipe we followed pretty closely. We used shredded Swiss instead of slices and frankly slices may have been better as the shredded didn't melt as evenly. This bruschetta was fantastic, though. Healthy and filling and fresh and so tasty.

The Grilled Panzanella was also wonderful....light and delicious and loaded with flavor. I've eaten a version of this before but not grilled and wow, does the grilling of the vegetables make a difference. I also gained a couple of hints from the reader's comments on Ina's recipe(which rated an across-the-board five stars on It turns out this recipe can be played with a bit. We used leftover cherry tomatoes instead of one large one. As per one reader's suggestion, we added an extra half-teaspoon of Dijon and a splash of Balsamic vinegar for extra kick to the dressing. I could seriously drink that dressing. I can't wait to make this again with some added Nature's Bounty from our garden.

Picture this: Me tearing into that bruschetta with tomato juice running down my chin underneath a stupid grin.....a pure portrait of me experiencing summertime satisfaction. Rank this right up there with those childhood memories of spitting watermelon seeds at my friends or seeing the first funnel cake stands open up.

Here's the recipes and they are easy even for me, so make these, for the love of Pete! This is the Food Of Love, people! Yeah, I ain't sweatin' summer....just gonna grill it and eat it up.

Eggplant Bruschetta

1-2 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic clove, minced
1-2 T Balsamic Vinegar Kosher Salt
Cracked Pepper

6 Eggplant slices (1" thick and peeled)

6 slices french bread (other bread like sourdough or Italian may be substituted)

6 slices tomato (1/2" thick)

6 slices Swiss cheese

Brush eggplant with olive oil and grill on both sides for just a few minutes. While that is grilling drizzle tomatoes with balsamic vinegar to marinate and season with kosher salt, garlic and cracked pepper. Once eggplant is tender, remove from grill. Layer bread slice with eggplant slice, tomato slice, swiss cheese slice and place back on grill for just a few minutes (until cheese is melted & bread on bottom is lightly brown and toasty). If there is any remaining balsamic vinegar from tomatoes, drizzle over top of bread and serve warm.

Grilled Panzanella


  • Good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 10 large basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1/2 small ficelle, cut into 1-inch thick slices

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.

When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.

Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.


Kristy said...

This is FANTASTIC!!! The pictures are magnificent and make me think good thoughts of summer even with our oppressive heat and epic pollen counts here in the Mid Ohio Valley. Balsamic makes EVERYTHING tastier in my opinion. And I had no problems picturing you with tomato juice dripping off your chin. I immediately went to our summer days of eating watermelon on my back porch and spitting seeds at each other and then in the very next paragraph so did you. You n me...we are like peas and carrots dontcha think. Thanks for yet another great post and two beautiful recipes!

Anonymous said...


This looks so good but I have a question. Did you drain/salt/etc. the eggplant prior to grilling?

Team Greenhouse will be test driving these recipes!


Jennifer said...

mmmmmm...good. need to try this, once my eggplant are up, that is!

The Foodie Wannabe said...

Eggplant was just given a touch of olive oil and salt prior to draining. Also, Kak, that grilled Panzanella is a must for you guys. You would rock this at one of your dinner parties.

Yes, Jennifer, you must try this with your eggplant! You'll love it!

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