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Yellow Squash & Zucchini Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto.

It’s hard to let go of summer.

By Chef Troy Gagliardo

Posted: Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at troygagliardo@gmail.com. Visit www.cheftroy.net, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Ok, I know that summer is over, but I am still seeing great looking summer produce all over the place. So I thought, why not just one more summer recipe?

Reinventing a classic dish is something most chefs thrive on and we revel in the challenge to make a recipe better than the original. More times than not, it is a dish that is famous for its simplicity, its flavor and probably created by accident.

The theme of reinvention isn’t new; food has been made over and over for years, building from one concept to the next. However, unlike the seven basic musical notes, there are thousands more like millions of ingredients to create a masterpiece with.

Twisting a classic is just a fun as reinventing one, like this version of a Caprese Salad. The twist is to replace the sliced tomato with zucchini and yellow squash; elevating it by lightly oiling, seasoning and charring them on the grill. The addition of a grill roasted red bell pepper, the traditional fresh milk mozzarella and basil pesto makes this the perfect rip off of the true Italian classic that has been copied note for note many times over.

Put this one in your rotation throughout the rest of the year by using what is fresh and available. Who knows? Maybe you will create the next “classic” recipe.

Yellow Squash & Zucchini Caprese Salad w/ Basil


Serves 2 to 4 as a side item or appetizer

• 1 yellow squash, cut into ½” rounds

• 1 zucchini, cut into rounds

• 1 red bell pepper, roasted with skin, stem and seeds removed, chopped

• 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin ½” rounds

• olive oil to drizzle

• Gagliardo’s Spice Mix or kosher salt and black pepper to taste

• Balsamic Vinegar to drizzle

Pesto:
Makes approximately 1 cup

• 4 ounces fresh basil

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 clove garlic

• 2 ounces almonds

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

• 4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Place all ingredients except the oil and cheese in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. With the food processor still running, slowly add oil until incorporated. Empty the puree into a large mixing bowl, add the cheese and mix to combine. Set aside while preparing the vegetables.

The Vegetables:
Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to medium high heat. Drizzle squash and zucchini with olive oil and season with spice mix. Grill squash and zucchini on both sides until slightly charred. Let cool on a serving plate to room temperature.

Assemble:
On individual plates or a serving platter alternate the vegetables with a slice of fresh mozzarella around the plate/platter. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top of the vegetables. Place a scoop of the pesto in the middle of the plate/platter and serve.

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