Grilled Ratatouille Salad (version II)

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, to taste
12 1/2-inch-thick slices eggplant
2 fennel bulbs, quartered lengthwise
2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick slices
4 plum tomatoes
3 slender leeks (white part only), split the root ends and wash thoroughly
3 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
1/2 head garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
pinch grated orange zest
salt and black pepper, to taste

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire.

When the coals are covered with gray ash, combine oil and vinegar in a bowl. Combine eggplant, fennel, zucchini, tomatoes, leeks, peppers and garlic in a large bowl; add the oil-vinegar and toss to coat.

Grill the vegetables, turning as needed, until the tomatoes and peppers are charred on the outside and the other vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes for the zucchini, up to 20 minutes for the garlic. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes and bell peppers. Dice the fennel and zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces. Trim the root ends from the leeks and slice. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mash.

Combine the vegetables, except the eggplant slices, in a bowl. Just before serving, stir in: basil, olive oil, orange zest and salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant slices on a platter, top with the ratatouille, and serve at room temperature.



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