Here is the best of summer stacked in a salad. Though a lot of the ingredients are grilled, you can cook them simultaneously and pull them off as they finish. Just make sure to have your tools organized before you hit the flame. The tomato vinaigrette is creamy, sharp and sweet. Make it all summer long as your go-to salad dressing (even for non-vertical salads).
Special equipment: A straight-sided 3-quart tall glass bowl or four 16-ounce wide-mouth glass jars with lids
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Roughly chop 2 of the tomatoes, and put into a blender, along with the lemon juice, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, cayenne and ¾ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
Toss the chicken with 3 tablespoons of the tomato dressing and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Lay the bread, corn and zucchini out on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush everything all over with 2 tablespoons of the tomato dressing, and sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of salt. Keep the baking sheet near your grill to transfer the grilled ingredients to when they’re ready.
Grill the chicken until it is nicely marked on the outside and registers 160°F in the thickest part on a meat thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove and let cool (it will finish cooking as it cools). Grill the zucchini until grill marks appear and it’s slightly tender, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Grill the corn, turning as needed, until charred on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Grill the bread until nicely charred, about 2 minutes per side.
Keeping all the individual ingredients separate, shave the corn kernels off the cobs, and cut the chicken, bread and zucchini into bite-size pieces.
Using a straight-sided 3-quart tall glass bowl for 1 large salad or four 16-ounce wide-mouth glass jars with lids for 4 individual salads, make a first layer with half the romaine, then add the following in separate layers: half the basil, the chicken, the zucchini, the feta, the corn, the remaining romaine, the remaining basil, and the bread. Cut the 2 remaining tomatoes into thin wedges, and arrange on top. Sprinkle with more basil leaves for garnish. The salad can be put together, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before serving.
If making 1 salad, just before serving, transfer it to a large bowl, toss with the remaining dressing and season with salt and pepper. If making 4 salads, add dressing to each jar, season with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and shake to coat.