Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Rabe Cherry Tomatoes, and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Recipe from The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing).
This easy-to-prepare salad has lots of flavors, from the slightly bitter tasting broccoli rabe to the mildly sweet tomatoes, as well as bright citrus notes from the lemon juice. The assortment of colored tomatoes makes a striking contrast with the green broccoli rabe.
1 pint multicolored heirloom cherry tomatoes 2 bunches broccoli rabe, thick ends trimmed 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed, divided, plus extra for the grill grate
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 whole lemons, tops and bottoms trimmed, cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed
1/2 tablespoon organic cane sugar
4 bread slices (1⁄2 inch thick), such as country-style
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh purple or green basil leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and mashed into a paste
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
Presoak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes or have metal skewers ready. Slide the tomatoes onto the skewers. Set aside.
Heat a gas or electric grill to medium heat and generously brush the cooking grate with oil.
Place the broccoli rabe in a colander and wash well under cold running water. Run a knife down the center of any thick stalks, more than 1⁄2 inch thick, leaving the stems intact at the top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Brush the lemons with 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the sugar on a small plate and dip each of the lemon halves, cut side down, into the sugar. Grill the lemons, cut side down, until golden brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip the lemons over and grill for 2 more minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl.
Generously brush both sides of the bread slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the bread, flipping once until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, arrange the broccoli rabe in a single layer across the grill grate. Grill, turning often, for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Brush the tomatoes with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the tomato skewers evenly across the grill grate. Grill until nicely blistered in spots, about 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove the tomatoes from the skewers into the bowl with the broccoli rabe.
Cut the bread slices into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the bowl with the vegetables. Add the basil, garlic, and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and toss until well combined. Arrange on a decorative platter. Drizzle with additional olive oil and lemon juice, if desired. Top with cheese. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.