It's here! Knoxville's 2015 Market Square Farmers Market starts up this weekend, and not a moment too soon. The early markets are bursting with greens, lettuces, and sprouts, and as lovely as all those things are, there's still room to supplement with veg from larger grocers until the rest of the rainbow springs from East Tennessee soil. So here's a salad for just that.
Grilled crusty bread and vegetables add deep comfort when set against fresh lettuces, sliced cucumbers, and sprouts. To finish off the salad and tenderize the gorgeously yeasty bread chunks is a bright, satisfying dressing made hauntingly savory from miso and capers, plus made creamy from a generous addition of white beans. It also makes a killer sandwich condiment, of course.
Grilled Veg Bread Salad with Savory Parsley-White Bean Dressing
For the salad:
4-5 oz tender lettuce of choice, washed, dried, cored, and chopped
4 large sprigs dill, stemmed
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
green sprouts of choice, to taste
4 tsp oil, divided
4 slices crusty bread from an eight-inch boule
handful sugar snap peas
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 small red pepper, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
For the dressing (yields 1 1/3 cups):
1 cup white beans, such as navy or Great Northern (rinsed and drained if using canned)
1/2 cup water
1 no-salt-added vegetable bouillon cube
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 cup loosely packed parsley (about 1 bunch, tough stems removed)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp drained capers
2 tsp red miso
Combine lettuce and dill in a serving bowl and top with cucumber slices and sprouts. Set aside.
Heat a countertop electric grill with a closing lid, which you'll use to cook everything in batches. Brush 2 tsp oil onto bread slices and grill until marked and gently toasted before chopping into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile, add 1 tsp oil to a small mixing bowl. Add peas and toss to combine. Grill in a single layer until crisp-tender with sear marks, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Toss carrots in the same mixing bowl and grill 3-5 minutes. Add another 1 tsp oil to mixing bowl and repeat with pepper and zucchini.
To make the dressing, blend all ingredients until smooth. If making a day or two in advance, refrigerate until ready to use.
Top the lettuce in the serving bowl with the grilled veg and bread, toss thoroughly with dressing, and serve at once.