Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Salad

The first day of spring brings dire warnings of snow. I wouldn't pay attention to the weather, but the docents are prepping for the annual brunch. They bake, buy and bring goodies to fill the tables. This is our chance to chat and catch up, mingle with museum staff and munch with old friends. So the impending storm has me straddling the fence. I decide to call the weatherman's bluff and go ahead with the event. Of course that means making a lunch item. 

I plan on an old stalwart, a green salad dressed with roasted veggies and drizzled with a fresh tomato dressing. Roasting veggies makes me feel good. The resulting aroma is pleasing. The colorful vegetable variations take on painterly hues. My stove top grill is put to work with zucchini and roasted tomatoes. The oven does the rest. Roasted tomatoes make a smoky dressing. The serving platter lends itself to Kenny Sharf aesthetics. Snow be damned...I have spring on my plate.

Serves 8

2 Japanese Eggplants 
1 large Red Onion
3 Sweet Potatoes 
8-10 small assorted Red, Orange, Yellow Mini Peppers 
1 large Green Pepper  
1 large Zucchini 
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt 
1 head Romaine Lettuce

1 Plum Tomato
1 Shallot
1 teaspoon grainy Mustard
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper 
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Heat oven to 375F.

Line 2 sheet pans with nonstick foil or spray with olive oil.

Slice eggplants on a bias thinly. Arrange slices on sheet pan.

Peel and cut onion into large chunks. Scatter them next to eggplant.

Trim peppers, cut into 1-2inch pieces and drop next to onions.

Drizzle veggies lightly with olive oil.

Season with salt and bake in total for 20-25 minutes till done. Turn veggies over after 10 minutes of roasting so they brown evenly.

Next broil veggies for a few minutes till tinged brown.

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut in half and then into thin half moons. Lay them on another sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Broil sweet potatoes for a few minutes till you see browned spots.

Heat a cast iron stove top grill till smoking hot.

Dip a paper towel in a little olive oil and rub grill with it.

Slice zucchini into long 1/4 inch thick ribbons. Brush with olive oil and lay on grill. Cook zucchini for 7-8 minutes on each side. Remove and keep with other veggies.

Start the dressing.

Cut tomato in half and lay cut side on grill. Let tomato blister and turn a bit brown.

Cut tomato into chunks and put into a blender.

Peel and roughly chop a shallot and add to tomato.

Add mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Blend tomato mix. 

Pour olive oil slowly into tomato as it blends.  Keep dressing in fridge till ready to use.

Wash and dry lettuce. Cut into bite size pieces and lay them in a bowl or platter.

Scatter roasted veggies over romaine.

Drizzle dressing over salad, toss and serve.

The snow turns out to be a nonevent. Brunch tables fill up. Docents mingle. The coffee maker is on the blink. But that issue is overshadowed by the convivial crowd, brilliant blue skies and swathes of green out the window. Stepping into the sunshine I have a spring in my step!!!