Nothing makes me feel all warm and summery like a seasonal main course salad, except maybe one served with a glass of wine. This grilled vegetable salad with tomato seed vinaigrette is perhaps the most celebratory of all.
I love grilling snow peas or sugar snap peas, and the radicchio makes the salad seem fancier than it really is. Plus, the acidic sweetness of heirloom tomatoes in the vinaigrette really takes this salad to a different field of flavor. Whisked with vinegar, thyme, red pepper flakes and mustard seeds, it’s my go to summer dressing for vegetables and meats alike.
If you’re like most eaters, the word mustard conjures up images of barbecues and baseball games. So for the vegetarians attending your Labor Day cookout, you’ve really knocked it out of the ballpark with this recipe. There’s much more to mustard seeds than just that nostalgic fragrance, however. I relish the rustic, spicy, aromatic taste they add to the char of these grilled veggies.
On that note: Char is good, incineration is not. It’s such a bummer to show up to a barbecue only to discover burnt food and warm beer. So when I host my Labor Day cookout one of my rules is to keep a plastic spray bottle filled with water near the grill to deal with serious flare-ups.
If you’re still a timid home griller, I suggest a grill basket as your secret weapon. Load up whatever you want inside and when you flip the basket, it’s all done in one motion, fuss and erratic flame-free.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Tomato Seed Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 overripe large heirloom tomatoes
1 / 2cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the grilled vegetables:
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered
2 small yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
2 heads trevisano or Verona radicchio, quartered through the core
2 red onions, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
12 scallions, trimmed and cleaned
1 pound snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
Start with the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, thyme, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes.
Halve the tomatoes crosswise and gently but firmly squeeze out the seeds and juices into the bowl with the vinegar mixture – be sure to get most, if not all, of them. Use the tomato flesh for a sandwich.
Whisk together, then continue whisking while you drizzle in the oil to form a viscous emulsion. Season with salt and pepper.
For the vegetables, preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Place the vegetables on three large baking sheets, keeping the snow peas separate from the others. Brush all the vegetables lightly with some of the marinade and season lightly with salt.
Place all the vegetables except for the snow peas on the grill over medium-high heat and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until just lightly charred, and then turn and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove each vegetable from the grill as it is done and return to the baking sheets.
Place a baking sheet with the snow peas on the grill and cook 2 minutes.
To serve, arrange the vegetables on a large serving platter and drizzle with the remaining marinade. Serve warm or at room temperature.