Grilled Spring Vegetables with Basil Rice

Vegetables:
1 large leek with thick green top cut off
halved lengthwise and cleaned
1 pound asparagus
1 red bell pepper cut into 2-inch strips
1 red onion sliced into 1/2-inch rings
1 japanese eggplant sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1 medium carrot, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup rice
1  1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Tomatoes:
3 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 scallions, chopped

VEGETABLES: Cut each leek half in half crosswise. Snap thick stem from each asparagus stalk.

Place leek, asparagus, pepper, onion and eggplant in shallow bowl. Add oil, vinegar, garlic and salt and marinate for 20 minutes.

RICE: Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan with tight-fitting lid on medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; add rice, stirring to coat well. Add broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Add basil, cover tightly and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook over low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Preheat grill or broiler. Cook marinated vegetables on grill or 4 inches from heat under broiler until lightly browned, turning once, from 4 to 15 minutes. Check vegetables every couple of minutes as they cook at different rates. Asparagus will be done first at about 4 minutes, then leek, eggplant, pepper and finally the onion at 1 5 minutes. Return vegetables to marinade. Turn grill or broiler off and keep vegetables in warm oven while rice finishes cooking.

TOMATOES: Heat tomatoes in non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in half of scallions.

Fluff cooked rice with fork and place on serving plates. Top rice with tomato and scallion mixture and grilled vegetables. Garnish with remaining scallion.

Makes 6 servings.



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