Grilled Vegetable Antipasto
The vegetables in this classic antipasto signal the arrival of midsummer. The dish is unequaled in its delicious simplicity: meaty vegetables cooked over a hot fire, peeled and drizzled with olive oil and seasonings. Enjoy this dish in the garden with soft burrata (a buttery fresh cheese made from mozzarella curds and cream) or fresh mozzarella, crusty country bread and a dark pink rosé.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 Tbs. for brushing
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 eggplant, 1 to 1 1/4 lb., trimmed and cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick
- 2 zucchini, trimmed and thickly sliced lengthwise
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers
- 6 green onions, white and light green portions, trimmed
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack.
Using a chef’s knife, mince together the garlic and parsley. Transfer to a small bowl, add the 1/2 cup olive oil and the vinegar, and mix well. Set aside.
Brush the vegetables with the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Using tongs, lay the eggplant and zucchini slices, the peppers and the green onions over the hottest part of the fire or directly over the heat elements. Cook the eggplant and zucchini slices, turning once, until both sides have grill marks and the slices are tender, about 6 minutes total for the eggplant and about 3 minutes total for the zucchini. Grill the green onions, turning as needed, until slightly charred and tender, about 4 minutes total. Grill the peppers, turning as needed, until the skin is blackened and evenly blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
As the vegetables finish cooking, transfer the eggplant, zucchini and green onions to a platter. Place the peppers in a paper bag and fold over the top so they will steam. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove from the bag, remove and discard the stems, and slit the peppers open lengthwise and remove and discard the seeds and ribs. Peel away the blackened skin and cut the peppers lengthwise into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Add the pepper strips to the platter.
Drizzle the olive oil–parsley mixture evenly over the vegetables, and then sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).