Grilled Vegetable Salad (version III)

2 red (spanish) onions, unpeeled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
1 large clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1 medium or 2 small japanese eggplants
1 zucchini
1 yellow crookneck squash
1 bulb fennel
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and quartered lengthwise
lettuce leaves

Preheat a broiler or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

If using a broiler, place the unpeeled onions in a small baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the broiler or place the onions directly on the grill rack about 5 inches from the heat source. Broil or grill, turning every 5-10 minutes, until charred on the outside and soft throughout, about 1 hour if using a broiler or 20-30 minutes if using a grill. Remove from the broiler or grill rack; set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano or marjoram and garlic. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly.

Trim the ends from the eggplan and squash and any stalks from the fennel bulb and cut lengthwise into quarters. Place in a bowl with the bell pepper and half of the vinaigrette and toss to mix. Arrange the vegetables on a broiler pan or directly on the grill rack about 5 inches from the heat source. Broil or grill slowly, turning to cook evenly, until lightly golden and cooked through, 5-10 minutes for the squashes, peppers and eggplants and 15 minutes for the fennel. Remove from the broiler or grill rack and let cool slightly.

Peel the onions and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in a bowl. Cut all the remaining vegetables into 2-inch pieces as well and add to the bowl. Pour the remaining vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss well to coat.

TO SERVE: Line individual plates with lettuce leaves and spoon the vegetables on top.

Serves 4-6

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