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GRILLED VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO

by Caroline Chirichella - Today I would like to share with you my recipe for Grilled Vegetable Antipasto. Antipasto translates to before the meal: most antipastos feature a lovely spread of olives, cured meats, cheese and grilled mixed vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and artichoke hearts. To call it a recipe seems a little silly, since it is just vegetables grilled with oil and garlic. Nonetheless, I will call it a recipe just so you know exactly how to prepare it to ensure that they come out perfectly.

The contents of an antipasto vary a lot according to regional cuisines. In the South of Italy you may have saltwater fish and southern meats like soppressata (an Italian dry salami), while in the North you may have different types of prosciutto and freshwater fish. Cheeses also vary depending on the region you are visiting.

I love antipasto because it is a wonderful way to start a meal. Vegetables, cheese and olives are a wonderful beginning to anything, right? This version is completely vegan. I use eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers that I got at my local farmers market. I also used some Brussels sprouts that are not Italian; I just really like Brussels sprouts. However, most people do not, so I am not going to include them in the actual recipe. You may use whatever vegetables you like, but I really suggest eggplant and zucchini: they lend themselves very nicely to this preparation.

Grilled Vegetables can be used as a side dish for fish or grilled meats. You can also put it on ciabatta bread, add some mozzarella and grill. However you prepare it, I guarantee you will love it.

GRILLED VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO

1 large eggplant

2 medium sized zucchini

2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

¾ cup of olive oil

1 full head of garlic (chopped)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

 

First, start by cutting your eggplant, zucchini and peppers: the thinner they are, the faster they will grill.

Next, chop all of your garlic. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the oil mixture in a zip lock bag and add the vegetables. Make sure all of the vegetables are thoroughly coated in the marinade. Let it sit for about an hour.

If you have a flat grill top, I would recommend using that. If not, a regular grill pan will do just fine. Heat it over medium heat. Add the eggplant first since it takes the longest to cook. I usually leave the eggplant to cook for around 15 minutes before adding the other vegetables. Next, add the zucchini and peppers. I like my vegetables very, very grilled (almost to the point that you would think they are burned, but I assure you, they are not!) All together, let them cook for 45 minutes. Take off the pan, put on a serving plate, and salt lightly.

Buon Appetito!