Serve this medley of vegetables, meat and cheese as a prelude to an Italian-inspired meal.
- 4 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick slices
- 3 Asian eggplant, cut lengthwise into thick slices
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups assorted brine-cured olives
- 4 small plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
- 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced
- 2 Tbs. finely shredded fresh basil
- 1/4 lb. dry salami or coppa, sliced
- 1/4 lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into strips
Cook the vegetables
Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Or, preheat a broiler.
In a shallow dish, combine the zucchini and eggplant slices, the 1/4 cup olive oil and the garlic. Toss to coat and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the zucchini and eggplant on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Or, arrange the slices on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the broiler. Cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes per side.
Assemble the platter
Place the olives in a small bowl and set on a large platter. Cut the grilled vegetables crosswise into bite-size pieces and arrange on the platter. Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on the platter, overlapping them, then sprinkle with the basil and drizzle with the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Fan out the salami and prosciutto slices, top with the bell peppers and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).