Grilled Smoked Mozzarella Salad With Summer Vegetables
What to do with all the summer veggies that are overflowing right now? Make this Grilled Smoked Mozzarella Salad. Think smoky eggplant and zucchini, sweet fennel, onion, peppers, and tangy tomatoes all topped with warm, gooey, mozzarella cheese.
This is one of my favorite “salads”. To be honest, it is great all year round, because between the smoked mozzarella and the grilling of the vegetables, it makes even not perfect produce shine. But in the summer, it is divine.
Like many of my recipes, it is great for a quick weeknight dinner, but also so tasty and presentable that it would be great for guests (or parties or pot lucks). It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients (thank you veggies) and is low carb and high in fat, making it a great Keto lunch or dinner. The best part is that it is completely customizable with whatever vegetables you have, or wish to have (ideally in the Italian family.)
This is another recipe that takes its inspiration from one of my favorite local restaurants Trattoria Delia. They used to have a Grilled Scamorza salad on their menu which was essentially, well, just like this. It was my go-to choice along with their Seafood Stew which was part of the inspiration for this recipe.
Scamorza is an Italian cheese closely related to mozzarella. It hails from Southern Italy – from Apulia and in some parts of Campania and Molise. The texture of Scamorza is elastic and stringy. It has less moisture than mozzarella making it excellent for melting and grilling. It also has a more piquant, robust flavor. If you can find it, I’d try it. The smoked version is called Scamorza Affumicate.
This salad has layers and layers of grilled fresh summer vegetables. As it hails from Italy, vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, fennel, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes are the best. But the great part of this recipe is that it is versatile. I used all of the above in this version. There are so many interesting flavors adding counterpoints to the meal, each bite is different. I also added garlic scapes because they are my favorite and I had them on hand. They are one of my favorite things about growing garlic.
The star of the show is of course the smoked mozzarella. When the cheese is the focus, I choose the best quality that I can find. For this recipe I used a favorite from Maplebrook Farm here in Vermont. A Scamorza Affumicate would be great if you can find it too.
And to finish it off, you will need a good quality extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil.
This is a very quick and easy to prepare. Perfect for those warm summer night’s when you’ve spent your day in your vegetable garden and don’t want to spend your night in your kitchen.
Prep Your Veggies
First, add the olive oil and minced garlic to a large bowl. Stir and let sit while you prep your veggies so that the garlic will infuse the oil. Get your grill or grill pan ready. Keep the mozzarella in the fridge, it needs to stay cold and firm until it is grilled.
Next, wash and prep your veggies. The tomatoes, red pepper, and mushrooms will be grilled whole. Slice the fennel, onion, and eggplant into rings. Coat all in the oil mixture. I usually toss all that can be safely tossed in the bowl and then brush the oil onto the rings of onions and fennel so that they stay intact.
Start Grilling The Vegetables
Start with grilling the red peppers first, place them on the grill whole and grill until the skins are charred and they have swollen. When they are done place them in a sealable plastic bag for a few minutes to loosen the skin.)
Grill the remainder of the vegetables in batches. I like to get them pretty well done to increase their flavor, infuse them with smokiness, and make sure that the zucchini and eggplant are soft and custardy inside.
Grilling The Smoked Mozzarella
Now take out the mozzarella and slice it into 1/2 inch rounds. Before grilling this, plate the vegetables so that when the mozzarella is done you are ready to eat. Layer the vegetables with a mix of each.
Finally, grill the cheese. I have done this a number of different ways. I have put this right on the grill. This method has the best flavor. The drawbacks are that the juices from the cheese drip down into the grill, and if you don’t keep your eye on it, so can some of the cheese.) I have put some foil on the grill and grilled the cheese on the foil. You keep your cheese but don’t get the grill marks. If you use this method put some oil on the foil first to prevent the cheese from sticking. The best method that I have found is to use a cast iron grill pan. It grilled and seared the cheese perfectly.
Put It All Together
When the cheese is finished, place it on top of the vegetables. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, splashes of balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil. Sea salt and fresh black pepper are a must for me too.
This salad is so satisfying. Grilling intensifies, sweetens, and brings out the flavor of the vegetables while adding a smokiness. Top that with warm, gooey, smoked mozzarella cheese and it’s heaven.
The best part, it’s also really nutritious! This salad is brimming with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, the B Vitamins, and Calcium. It makes an excellent easy and delicious meal or side which is relatively low in carbs and high in healthy fats and flavor – great for anyone – especially those on a Keto or low carb diet.
If you make this salad be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!
How To Make: Grilled Smoked Mozzarella Salad With Summer Vegetables
|1 Smoked Mozzarella Or Scamorza Affumicate|
|1 Medium Yellow Onion|
|1 Medium-Large Fennel Bulb|
|1 Medium Eggplant|
|1 Medium Zucchini|
|1 Large Red Pepper|
|8-12 Fresh Mushrooms (Like Crimini)|
|Assorted Tomatoes: 2 Medium Tomatoes, Mixed Cherry Tomatoes|
|1/2 Cup Fresh Basil|
|2 Cloves Garlic|
|1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil You may need more depending on the vegetables you choose.|
|Balsamic Vinegar, to drizzle.|
|Freshly Ground Black Pepper|