One last gigantic cookout at the end of the summer can leave even the most dedicated cook feeling a little overwhelmed… The heat, the stove, the grill, the menu, the prep work, the shopping, the clean-up… umm, did I say that out loud?
The truth is the whole clan will come together for Labor Day from where ever they come from, and the food will be a given. At least in their eyes it is a given!
So how to muster the energy for a final blowout? For me, it is time alone with the colors and the smells of late summer in my kitchen. Smooth waxy potatoes. Glossy purple eggplant. Peppers of red, green, yellow and all colors in-between. The shiny skin of a crimson onion. Fragile sun-kissed tiny tomatoes. The overwhelming heady aroma of a bunch of basil.
Feeling energized? See how that works? Mother Nature’s wakeup call! (And on a less silly note, this salad is SUPPOSED to sit on the counter for 4 to 6 hours before serving to give the flavors time to blend… Hey, Ur Mom does what she can…)
2 Pounds Red Potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
4 Green Onions, sliced
3 Small Eggplant, roughly chopped
4 Assorted Peppers, roughly chopped
1 Red Onion, sliced
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
½ Pound Cherry or Pear Tomatoes, halved
2 Ears Corn, blanched and shucked, if available
20 Basil Leaves
½ Cup Olive Oil
¼ Cup White Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 ½ Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Cook the red potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain in a colander and immediately stir the green onions through the hot potatoes. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile toss the eggplant, peppers and red onion in ¼ cup olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 375 degree oven until caramelized and tender.
Transfer the cooled potatoes to a large serving dish. Add the roasted vegetables and all of the drippings to the potatoes.
Mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, salt, dry mustard, sugar and Worcestershire sauce together thoroughly. (An immersion blender works well if available.)
Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix gently. Add the tomatoes and the corn and continue to mix gently. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours, stirring about once an hour.
At serving time, taste for seasoning and add torn basil.