GRILLED MIXED VEGETABLES (for 16 as part of a buffet)
8 bell peppers, cut vertically into 6 pieces and seeds discarded
8 porto bello mushrooms
8 small red onions, peeled and quartered with root end left intact
12 small yellow squash or zucchini (about 4 inches long), halved lengthwise
12 small eggplants (about 4 inches long), halved lengthwise
½ cup olive oil, plus additional if desired
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
garlic bread to accompany (see breads for recipe)
1. Prepare grill.
2. In a large bowl, toss vegetables with ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Grill vegetables in batches on a rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, turning them, 5 to 10 minutes for just-tender bell peppers and 10 to 15 minutes for just-tender squash, eggplant and mushrooms, and 15 to 20 minutes for red onions. Transfer vegetables to a platter to cool completely. Vegetables may be grilled 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving or heat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350* oven until just heated through. Brush vegetables with additional oil and serve with garlic bread.
Other vegetables that are good grilled include:
Belgian endive (Shave off the ends of the endives and cut them in half lengthwise. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes).
Radicchio (Remove any brown outer leaves and cut into four wedges, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over a medium-hot fire, turning every 1-1/2 minutes, until edges are browned but centers remain slightly firm, about 4-1/2 minutes total).
Fennel (Cut off the stems and feathery fronds, trim a very thin slice from the base of the bulb, and remove any tough or blemished outer layers. Slice the bulb vertically through its base into ¼-inch-wide pieces that resemble fans. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until tender and streaked with grill marks, 7 to 9 minutes).
Minced garlic, minced fresh rosemary leaves or lemon zest and lemon juice can be added to the extra-virgin olive oil used to baste grilled vegetables for added flavor.