CHRIS SCHLESINGER’S GRILLED VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO WITH GARLIC BREAD
“This dish – the result of my early experiments with the “grillability” of different vegetables at a time when vegetables were not used for grilling – is largely responsible for my reputation for grilling anything and everything.” Chris Schlesinger, the East Coast Grill, Cambridge, Massachusetts
8 tablespoons good olive oil
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 summer squash
1 yellow onion
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
10 medium mushrooms
salad oil for rub
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 sun dried tomatoes
1 cup black olives
2 tablespoons capers
4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
French or Italian bread
1. To braise the garlic: Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, wrap in foil and cook in a medium oven (300*) for ½ hour. The garlic should easily squeeze out of its skin, after which you mix it with the oil in which it was cooked to make a paste. Now you are ready to grill the vegetables.
2. To prepare the vegetables: Slice the squash and the zucchini into ¼ inch rounds. Cut the onions into quarters. Cut the peppers in half and clean out any seeds and membranes.
3. Rub all the vegetables lightly with the salad oil, sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper to taste and grill over high heat. What you are looking for here is color. With the exception of the onion, all of the vegetables will be cooked properly when the color is right. It’s actually fine to have some black parts, because that’s the sugar in the vegetables caramelizing, but what you’re looking for really is a dark, golden brown. Don’t overcook them because you’ll ant to retain some crispness/rawness in the vegetables to provide texture. The onions require special care: Keep them in quarters and grill them well on the cut sides so that when they are removed from the grill and separated, each piece with have some edges with color and grilled flavor.
4. When the vegetables have achieved the desired state, toss them in the balsamic vinegar and 5 tablespoons of the olive oil and arrange them on a platter along with the tomatoes, olives and capers. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice over everything.
5. Cut 4 to 6 chunks of Italian or French bread. If the grill is hot, toast lightly. Be careful, as bread burns easily over an open grill. If the grill is not hot, use the oven to toast the bread. Spread with garlic paste, add to the platter with the vegetables and chomp.
from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, The Thrill of the Grill