Grilled Vegetable and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini

The surprise in this salad is the grilled avocados. They are a great addition to the time-proven combination of tomatoes, zucchini, and asparagus. Warmed, the avocados become even more unctuous, and they help create a creamy dressing when tossed with the other ingredients.


Dijon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad and Crostini:

5 ounces baby arugula (about 7 cups not packed)

2 firm but ripe Hass avocados, quartered, pitted but not peeled

2 medium tomatoes (preferably heirloom), halved lengthwise

2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 pound thin asparagus, woody stems trimmed

Olive oil, for brushing

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small baguette, cut on a very sharp diagonal into twelve 1/4-inch-thick slices

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature


The vinaigrette and crostini can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Cover separately. Refrigerate the vinaigrette. Cool the grilled crostini and store them airtight at room temperature. Let the vinaigrette stand at room temperature 15 minutes and rewhisk before using.

Prepare an outdoor grill for medium-high cooking over direct heat.

To make the vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, shallots, and mustard together to combine (but not emulsify). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the salad and crostini:

Place the arugula in a large wide shallow bowl or on a large platter and set aside.

Lightly coat the cut sides of the avocado quarters, tomatoes, zucchini, and the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush one side of the baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the baguette slices for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are toasted. Spread the goat cheese over the crostini. Set aside on a plate.

Next, grill the avocados, cut side down, for about 3 minutes, or until they are slightly charred and grill marks form. Using your fingers, remove the peel from the avocados and place the avocados on top of the arugula. Grill the remaining vegetables, turning them as needed, until they are slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side for the tomatoes, about 4 minutes per side for the zucchini, and about 5 minutes for the asparagus. As the vegetables come off the grill, arrange them on top of the arugula.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and the crostini. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the salad at the table and serve with the crostini.