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Grilled Vegetable Antipasto with Red Onion Vinaigrette

Dressing grilled vegetables with nothing more than good extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt allows the individual flavor of each vegetable to shine. If you have a favorite vegetable, add it to the mix. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Japanese eggplant 
  • 1 small zucchini 
  • 1 small yellow squash 
  • 1 small red bell pepper 
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper 
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms 
  • 2 red onions 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • Vegetable oil for grill rack 
  •   

For the grilled red onion vinaigrette (optional): 

  • 2 red onion slices, each 1/2 inch thick  
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed 

Directions:

Trim the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash and slice lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Seed and stem the bell peppers, trim away the ribs and cut lengthwise into strips about 1 inch wide. Trim off the stems from the mushrooms and, using a small spoon, scrape out and discard the black gills. Quarter the caps. Peel and trim the red onions, then slice them into thick wedges.

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, add the thyme and season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the vegetables to release some of their juices. Toss again just before grilling.

Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack.

To prepare the red onion vinaigrette, grill the red onion slices. Chop finely, place in a small bowl and stir in the vinegar, salt and sugar. Add a few grindings of pepper and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and adjust the seasoning.

Working in batches, place the vegetables on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until golden and tender, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter. When all of the vegetables are cooked, drizzle with the red onion vinaigrette or olive oil and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).