Oozing with melted cheese, classic baked eggplant Parmesan may not be everyone’s first choice for dinner on a sultry summer night. That’s why we took all the elements of eggplant Parmesan and turned it into a grilled bread salad. Sliced and grilled bread is rubbed with a bit of garlic, like bruschetta, torn into pieces, and tossed with grilled cherry tomatoes and eggplant. Fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil are added at the end, and everything is tossed with a tangy herbed vinaigrette to produce a hearty side salad or the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal.
Special equipment: You will need a pastry brush for this recipe.
Click below to watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Amy Wisniewski make this simple salad in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
- 1Whisk the oil, vinegar, shallots, and oregano in a medium, nonreactive bowl until combined, and then season with salt and pepper; set aside.
For the salad:
- 1Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F).
- 2Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil, very lightly brush the tops of the bread and season with salt and pepper. Flip the slices over and brush with 1 more tablespoon of the oil; season with salt and pepper.
- 3When the grill is ready, place the bread on the grill and set the baking sheet aside. Cook, flipping once, until grill marks appear on both sides and the bread is crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- 4Return the grilled bread to the baking sheet and lightly rub one side of each piece with the garlic clove (you will not need to use the entire clove). Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl; set the bowl and baking sheet aside.
- 5Thread the tomatoes and eggplant onto the skewers and place on the reserved baking sheet. Brush all of the skewers with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- 6Place the tomato and eggplant skewers on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened and warmed through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato skewers to the baking sheet. Continue to grill the eggplant until softened and all sides are slightly charred, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the eggplant skewers to the baking sheet.
- 7Remove the tomatoes and eggplant from the skewers and place in the bowl with the bread. Immediately add the mozzarella and basil and toss to combine. Whisk the dressing again and pour over the salad. Add the Parmesan and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.