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Author Notes: Categories: Healthy, Dairy-Free, Season: Spring/Summer/Autumn
Grilled vegetables are a standard starter on many menus across Italy. It makes for a delicious variety of flavours, textures and colours. It is also very healthy. The variety of vegetables can change with the season. If you don't have a grill, these are also very delicious grilled on a cast-iron grill pan.
Each of these vegetables can be made on its own as described below and served as a side dish. Alternatively the grilled vegetables can be cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed as a salad. Leftovers are excellent with cheese in a grilled sandwich, particularly on focaccia bread. The aubergine, peppers and zucchini can also be salted and jarred covered in olive oil with aromatics to keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. —woo wei-duan
- 2 medium round or oblong aubergine (not the thin long ones), rinse, trim stem and slice lengthwise 5 mm thick
- 2 heads of garlic
- 1 sprig rosemary, rinse, remove leaves, and finely chop
- 1 clove garlic, peel and finely slice
- 100 milliliters extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
- 16 asparagus, rinse, snap off woody end and peel stem with a vegetable peeler
- 1 lemon, zest, and juice
- 2 radicchio, cut into quarters lengthwise leaving the stem intact
- 2 fennel bulbs, rinse, remove outer layer, trim stalks, and slice 5 mm thick lengthwise
- 2 zucchini, rinse, trim ends, and slice lengthwise 5 mm thick
- 16 cherry tomatoes, rinsed
- 10 grams Italian flat leaf parsley, rinse, dry, and finely chop
- 2 sweet peppers, rinse
- 8 basil leaves, rinse, dry, and slice thinly chiffonade
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- If the aubergine have large seeds, place the aubergine in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of salt over the aubergine and stir to combine. Let sit 1 hour.
- Slice the tops off the heads of garlic.
- Fill a small sauce pan with water. Heat the water over medium heat to a boil. Add the heads of garlic to the water. Cook for 10 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.
- Tear off two pieces of 20 x 20 cm aluminium foil. Place one head of garlic in the middle of one sheet of foil.
- Drizzle olive oil over the heads of garlic so it doesn't stick to the foil. Close the foil to encase the garlic.
- Rinse the aubergine with a bit with water and place it inside a kitchen towel. Squeeze the kitchen towel to remove any moisture from the aubergine. Place the aubergine in a medium bowl. Marinate the aubergine in the rosemary, garlic, 50 mls of the olive oil, and a pinch of black pepper.
- Marinate the asparagus in a separate bowl in the lemon zest, 30 mls of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
- In separate containers, marinate each of the radicchio, fennel, zucchini, and tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Pound the parsley with sea salt and 15 mls of olive oil in a mortar and pestle (or puree in a food processor or blender).
- Heat your grill to very hot and place the peppers on the grill, turning when the skin blackens, ensuring that the skin is evenly charred. When the skin is completely black, remove the peppers from the heat and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film until cool enough to touch. Slide the charred skin off using your fingers. Cut out the stem with a paring knife and slice open the pepper. Scrape out the seeds and the white ribbing from the inside of the pepper. Slice the pepper into 3 cm strips and toss with the parsley mixture.
- Turn the grill down to medium and place the foil wrapped garlic on the part of the grill which is cooler.
- Grill the vegetables in order of which vegetables take the longest to cook: aubergine, zucchini, fennel, asparagus, tomatoes and radicchio.
- Grill the vegetables, turning once, until tender and taste to ensure the texture is desirable.
- The tomatoes are finished as soon as the skin blackens.
- The radicchio takes 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Check the garlic occasionally to ensure it isn't burning and remove it once it starts to get dark.
- Place all the vegetables attractively on a platter.
- Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes. Squeeze lemon juice over the asparagus. Sprinkle the entire platter with a bit of salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil over the top. Serve.
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