This past weekend we checked out one of Seattle’s most popular farmers markets. I try to eat what is in season as much as possible, and the giant overflowing tubs of zucchini everywhere I turned were pretty convincing that we needed to eat some this week. I found a great organic vendor that was running a zucchini special – five HUGE squash for just $5. This picture doesn’t really do justice to their size, but believe me – they were massive.
I grabbed a few different varieties and headed home to get cooking. I know there are some eggplant haters out there, so feel free to sub in yellow squash, patty pan squash, or whatever else you feel like grilling. It’s a very flexible dish!
Although I have to say, if you skip the eggplant you’re really missing out. I have a theory that eggplant haters have simply never had it prepared quite right. It is far and away my favorite vegetable, and I can easily eat a large one by myself. Maybe I can convince you to give it another shot?
This recipe couldn’t be more simple. Grill veggies, mince herbs, toss together, eat and enjoy. Allowing the grilled veggies to sit and steam for a few minutes softens them perfectly for eating. And the summer herbs and capers give a little punch that goes a long way.
Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant Herb Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
1 large eggplant
2 large zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used basil, mint, and tarragon), minced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt, to taste
First off, you can grill the veggies on an outdoor grill, or inside on a grill pan (like I did) – either way is equally delicious. I’m going to give grill pan directions, since every grill is different (gas vs. charcoal, etc), but feel free to do yours outside if you prefer.
Set your grill pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium high. You want to get the pan nice and hot before you start cooking. Slice eggplant and zucchini into even, round discs.
Lay the eggplant onto the grill pan and allow it to cook for several minutes. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a small dish and brush it on the tops of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle with salt (this helps release moisture).
Using tongs, check to see if the bottom of the eggplant is developing grill lines. Once you have dark grill lines, go ahead and flip to the other side. Brush again with olive oil and give a small sprinkle of salt.
Once both side have good grill marks, transfer to a cutting board and cut the discs into fourths. This should create smaller, bite-sized pieces. Add eggplant to a mixing bowl, cover, and set aside. I use a metal bowl to help keep the food hot once it’s placed inside.
Once the eggplant is cooked, move on to the zucchini, and go through the same process (minus cutting into fourths – discs should be small enough to not need any cutting).
Cook, oil, salt, flip, repeat.
While the zucchini cooks, mince your herbs. I used a blend of tarragon, basil, and mint because that’s what I have in my planters this year (along with oregano and rosemary), but other herbs would be good in this as well (like sage or lemon balm!).
As the veggies are cooked, add them tot he bowl with the eggplant and keep covered. The heat will help steam the veggies and soften them a bit more.
Once everything is ready, add herbs, capers, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl. Toss to combine. Finish with a pinch of kosher salt for seasoning.
Serve warm with your favorite sides. We ate ours with balsamic millet and baked sweet potatoes – perfection!
We split this into three giant servings, and I still wish we’d had more when it was gone. What is it about summer vegetables that makes me feel bottomless?
Am I the only one that thinks the word zucchini is really strange? Say it three times. Zucchini, zucccccchini, zucchiiiiiiiini. Okay, I’m done.