By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
Gone are the leafy greens, large pieces of wedge and bottled dressings. The idea of salads has exploded across America in such a profusion of color and styles that I really don’t even know where to begin.
As a teenager, I saw the beginning of a revolution as to influencers of our society. They opened our eyes to new places, experiences, ideas and foods. Im talking about cable TV channels. Everyone thinks of MTV as the one that ruined Gen. X, but we gained courage to be ourselves. For me, I was exposed to types of food I didn’t have available to me in Tulsa, OK. “And what do mean not all salads have greens?”
Who knew that there were chefs, like Emeril Lagasse, out there that were so inspiring, they not only encouraged you to try new things at home, but inspired an entire generation of new chefs.
- 1 Baguette French Bread
- 2 Large Eggplants
- 4 Red Bell Peppers
- 1/2 Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped Fine
- 1 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles
- 3 Tbs. Fresh Basil, Chopped Fine
- 1 Tbs. Fresh Parsley, Chopped Fine
- 2. Tbs. Monterey Steak Seasoning
- 2 Tbs. Applewood Smoke Seasoning
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Cracked Assorted Pepper Corns
- Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Take your baguette of french bread and slice, then cut into small cubes (about 2 cups of bread.) Spread out on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with your Applewood Seasoning, Fresh Parsley and toss your homemade croutons.
- Place on the top rack of your oven for 5-7 minutes until your croutons are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool until ready to use.
- While your croutons are baking, take your eggplant and red bell peppers and cut into medium size chunks. Place into a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with your Monterey Steak Seasoning. Toss to coat.
- Put your vegetables into the oven on the center rack and roast for 30-45 minutes, until tender. Through out the roasting process, carefully turn your veggies a couple of times to help speed up the cooking process.
- When your peppers and eggplant are finished roasting, remove from the oven and pour into a medium size bowl. Let them cool to room temperature.
- Add your chopped sun dried tomatoes, basil, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, pinch of sea salt, pinch of cracked pepper corns and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Toss lightly.
- Serve with a few of your homemade croutons on top as a snack, light lunch or side dish to chicken or fish. Cooking Tip: To serve as an appetizer, place on to oriental soup spoon for an amazing, one bite wonder. Enjoy this Italian inspired salad with friends and family any day of the week.