Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Rabe and Summer Squash

By • July 12, 2012 • 47 Comments



Author Notes: There are the two main reasons for making this salad: First, the grill does all the work, freeing you from a hot kitchen in the summer, and second, it’s crazy good. The mayonnaise marinade for the vegetables creates a wonderful blistery crust. I’ve chosen a mix of broccoli rabe and summer squash, and if you’ve never had grilled broccoli rabe, you’re in for a real treat. The marinade soaks into the squash and clings to the leaves and florets of the broccoli rabe, resulting in a delicious smoky char that perfectly complements the natural sweet-bitter flavors.EmilyC

Food52 Review: WHO: EmilyC is an environmental scientist who knows a thing or two about the power of mayonnaise and aioli.
WHAT: A spicy-crunchy-creamy salad with an abundance of glorified croutons.
HOW: Marinate broccoli rabe and summer squash in a spicy mayonnaise mixture and grill each until crispy and charred. Mix the vegetables with cubed grilled bread and top with fresh herbs, toasty pine nuts, and lemon juice.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We would never think to marinate vegetables in mayonnaise, but now we have seen the light -- and there’s no looking back. The mayonnaise serves its predictable creamy role, but it also imparts an addictive spiciness to the sometimes-bland vegetables, and creates a crisp outer layer. That means there’s no sogginess in sight.
A&M

Serves 4

For the mayonnaise marinade

  • 1 cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed

For the grilled vegetables and bread salad

  • 2 or 3 mixed summer squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (or young, tender broccoli)
  • Four 1/2-inch slices from the center of a loaf of crusty bread (ciabatta or sourdough works well)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing bread
  • Olive oil for brushing grill grate
  • Handful of torn basil and mint for garnish
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or toasted, chopped almonds
  • Extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, to taste
  1. To prepare the broccoli rabe, remove thick, tough lower ends of stalks. Split lengthwise any stalks that are more than 1/2-inch thick. If you are using young, tender broccoli, prepare it in the same way.
  2. To prepare the mayonnaise marinade: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, smoked Spanish paprika, Aleppo pepper, and cumin seed until smooth and emulsified.
  3. To prepare the vegetables: To the bowl of marinade, add the summer squash. Rinse the broccoli rabe thoroughly to remove any grit hiding among the leaves. Add it to the bowl with the summer squash, then toss with the marinade to coat the vegetables evenly. (Don’t dry the broccoli rabe after rinsing -- the bit of water clinging to the leaves will thin the marinade and gently steam the stalks as they’re grilling, allowing any tough stalks to get tender.) Allow the vegetables to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice to make sure they’re evenly coated.
  4. To prepare grill: Meanwhile, prepare a gas grill with all burners on medium, or a prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.
  5. To grill the vegetables: When the grill is ready, arrange the summer squash rounds evenly across the grill grate. Grill for a few minutes on each side, or until tender and nicely blistered in spots. Remove the squash from grill. Next, arrange the broccoli rabe in a single layer on the grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until tender and blistered in spots. (Taste if you're unsure if the stalks are tender.) If the stalks are charring quickly but aren't tender, spray or drizzle a few drops of water on them. Remove from the grill and place on a large platter or sheet pan to cool. (You don’t want to stack the broccoli rabe while it’s still hot because it’ll lose its crisp, papery texture.)
  6. To grill the bread: Brush each slice of bread (top and bottom) with about about 1 tablespoon of oil, or enough to evenly and thoroughly coat each side. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill the bread on both sides, checking frequently, until charred in spots, a few minutes per side. Turn down the heat if needed. You want the bread to be crusty but soft in the middle. When the bread is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  7. To assemble salad: On a large serving platter, place the bread cubes, grilled broccoli rabe, and summer squash. Garnish with toasted nuts, basil, and mint. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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15 days ago cookbookchick

Though I haven't made the full-on bread salad yet, I was cooking for guests last weekend and had some eggplants, zucchini and yellow squash to grill. I made the marinade for the veggies. Oh my!! SO good, I kept sticking my finger in for more tastes! My friends all raved about the grilled veggies, they were the hit of the weekend! Thank you, EmilyC, for a wonderful recipe! I've already grilled more veggies with the leftover marinade. This is a keeper -- can hardly wait to try it with the broccoli rabe, one of my favorite greens.

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15 days ago EmilyC

I'm thrilled to hear the grilled vegetables were a hit with you and your guests! Love the sounds of the eggplant, too -- will try that soon! Thanks so much for trying this and your nice note!

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19 days ago loubaby

I made this last night and we both loved it--the marinade has great flavor and can see adapting other vegetables to it....and the unusual use of grilled Broccoli Rabe which we love mostly with pasta or on Pizza....there is a lot of fat in the recipe, but some of the marinade drained off before we grilled it so it wasn't so bad...thanks for another way to use Broccoli Rabe.

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17 days ago EmilyC

Thanks loubaby! So glad you tried and liked it. Thanks for your note.

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25 days ago lilly

Has anyone (Emily C?) had any luck making this with other veggies? Zucchini or carrots? We don't often get either broccoli rabe or summer squash where I live in Kenya but we love roasted veggies. Curious to know, sound fabulous!

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25 days ago EmilyC

Hi lilly -- I've made this several times with zucchini -- it works well! Broccoli can be substituted for the broccoli rabe (just peel and/or split in half the tough stems). I've never tried kale in this recipe but think it would be fabulous since it takes so well to the grill. You could even throw some red bell peppers into the mix -- I'll bet the mayo marinade would work well on them. Let me know what you end up trying if you make this!

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25 days ago lilly

Thanks so much! We have guests Thur night and nothing I like better than trying something new for guests. I'll definitely let you know how it goes :)

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about 1 month ago oregon cassie

Can't wait to try this -- how far in advance could this be made with great results? Would this keep until evening if I grilled all in the morning?

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

That's a good question. I've made this salad several hours in advance and served it at room temperature with great results. The vegetables will lose a bit of their crispness but they'll still be good. If you grill everything in the morning, you could try re-warming / re-crisping the vegetables briefly under your broiler before serving. I'm a huge proponent of making things in advance so please let me know how it goes!

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about 1 month ago Gail Troetti

This was delicious. A new way to make broccoli rabe instead of the usual saute. I used the olive oil mayo and it turned out great. I especially liked the fact I didnt have to dry all the leaves after washing :)

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

So glad you liked it -- thanks for letting me know!

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about 1 month ago Jennifer Maestas

I have a question...can you use olive oil mayo and will the marinade still work?

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

The last time I made this, I used Hellmann's olive oil mayo, so yes! Hope you like it!

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about 1 month ago savorthis

I made this over the weekend to go with some smoked lamb. I did not have any lemons but had some tangerines which I thought would actually go well with the lamb. We used broccolini and yellow summer squash. I usually will peel the thicker stalks of broccolini but halved them instead. I also used an Asiago loaf of bread which was nice. The whole mixture was perfect with the lamb! Next time I think I would also add some blistered cherry tomatoes. Great recipe!

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

So happy you made and liked it! The lamb pairing sounds fabulous.

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about 1 month ago cookbookchick

This is now on my must-make list! Congratulations, EmC! Mayonnaise marinade -- who knew??

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks Stephanie! Really hope you like it if you try it!

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about 1 month ago healthierkitchen

I love the way this sounds and I'm not even a mayonnaise person. Will try soon!

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks Wendy! I think even mayo haters may like this salad -- most won't even know it's there!

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about 1 month ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations, EmC! I loved this salad when I made it last year, and am glad for the reminder to make it again.

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks Sara! I need to make it again myself!

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about 1 month ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I had forgotten about this from last summer, but I'm so excited to have it brought back to my attention. Yay yay yay!!! Congrats Em!

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks Em! : )

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations Emily, love this salad broccoli rabe is my favorite and love the bread and squash.

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks Suzanne!

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about 1 month ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Perfect, for so many reasons. Congratulations. ;o)

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks for the nice note, AJ!

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about 1 month ago gingerroot

Yay! Well-deserved congrats, Emily! I'm not surprised this is a finalist.

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks so much Jenny!

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about 1 month ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Well I can sure see how this recipe got chosen as a finalist! I'm making it this weekend. For sure. Congrats, Emily!

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks so much ChefJune -- I really hope you try and like it! Happy 4th!

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about 1 month ago savorthis

Congrats Emily! This looks great. We grill broccoli all the time because we love the crispy florets and I bet the marinade makes it even better.

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Thanks savorthis! Grilled broccoli is the best. If you ever go this mayo route, let me know!

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Gosh, I'll admit I've never been a big mayo fan but this alone might change that. This sounds amazing!

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks gingerroot! It's kind of cool that the mayo plays the leading role in the salad but then steps aside to let the vegetables have the limelight. So humble that mayo! : )

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about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow. This looks SO good. Splendiferous! I have a powerful love of grilled broccoli raab, and grilled bread. I can only imagine mayo makes them even better.

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks, 5&s! I'm absolutely giddy about this mayo marinade right now and kind of want to put it on anything and everything. (Hope to try grilled radicchio and fennel soon.) The broccoli rabe comes off the grill so crispy (the leaves practically shatter) that it almost tastes like it's been fried (but better). Yet another example of how high heat + fat is a beautiful thing! : )

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about 2 years ago lapadia

Wow EmilyC, I love bread salad of any kind, and I can totally picture the blistering mayo marinade, sounds delicious!

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks lapadia! I'm going to be making this salad (and variations of it) all summer. And I'm excited that I've found such a good way to prepare summer squash since there's typically no shortage of it from now til September.

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about 2 years ago Kukla

Mayonnaise is a perfect marinade for many things; I mix mayo with some ketchup and rub it all over chicken a couple hours before roasting and you should see how beautiful it looks and delicious taste. Because of all the ingredients which are in mayonnaise, it enriches even inexpensive and a little dry fish and if you add some mayo to any burgers or meatloaf, they will always be very tasty and moist. That is why I am sure your salad is very yummy Emily!

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks for this, Kukla! I've heard of mayo marinades for meat and fish but I've never tried them. (I'll bet a mayo-marinated grilled chicken would be great alongside this salad.). Suspect my consumption of mayo is going to skyrocket this summer! : )