Good day all!
It's stupid hot again in Ottawa, and salads seem to be the way to go this week. So, I came up with this quick and easy salad just today and I think it's a great way to use up some stale bread, ripe tomato and possibly other items sitting in the fridge or pantry that you might want to great rid of.
I call this one the "Italian Sandwich Salad" because the ingredients are basically identical to those in traditional Italian sandwiches, which I discussed in an entry I posted last August.
It started with a Bean Salad that was in the fridge. I was going to eat that, but then I got the fiercest craving for some kind of soft, warm crouton on the side of it. Then I noticed some Genoa salami in the fridge as well, and the Bean Salad was quickly forgotten (sorry Bean Salad, I'm sure you're tasty). Instantly the idea for a salad with Italian flavours found in the big ol' "two-day" sandwiches from Bottega hit me. First, I would fry up the bread with olive oil into a kind of warm crouton, then mix it up with marinated eggplants, tomato, onion, garlic and roasted red pepper and some kind of light dressing. Now, this recipe features raw onion and garlic, so be aware of your own gastro-intestinal system and proceed accordingly.
The methodology changed a bit as I went into the following:
Italian Sandwich Salad - 4 servings
- 4 slices bread (or 1 foccacia), slightly stale
- 2 small, very ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 very thinly sliced sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1/2 cup marinated eggplant (mild or hot is up to you)
- 1 roasted red pepper, diced (unfortunately, the jar of peppers I had today was moldy, so I omitted it - sadface)
- 12 slices Genoa salami, sliced into thin strips (or any other type of meat you enjoy - I bet prosciutto would rock!)
- Olive oil to taste
- Balsamic vinegar to taste
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dried or fresh oregano to taste
- 1/2 cup hot pepper rings
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives
- Toast bread slices until crispy, then slice into "fingers" or cubes.
- Place the toasted bread in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano until well coated.
- Fry toasted bread on high heat for about 3 minutes.
- Pile bread onto plates (that's right, the "croutons" go on the bottom).
- Next, pile on the marinated eggplant. Don't drain it too much, the oil it's packed in provides a lot of flavour.
- Pile on the rest of veggies and top with additional olive and balsamic vinegar if desired.
- Top with meat and serve. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley if you want.
So, that's about it! Minimal cooking involved and lots of flavour.