Grilled Vegetables with Vinegar Dressing and Goat Cheese

2 small eggplants
2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
4 portobello mushroom caps
1 large red onion
16 asparagus spears
1/2 cup olive oil, plus some for brushing on vegetables
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces fresh goat cheese

Wash and dry all vegetables except the mushrooms and onion. Brush mushrooms with a soft brush to remove any grit. Peel onion. Cut mushrooms and onions into 1/2-inch slices. Cut cap and bottom from eggplants; then cut lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces. Cut peppers in half and remove stem, membrane and seeds; put them cut side down on a cutting board and flatten with the palm of the hand. Snap the tough part of the stem from the asparagus spears.

Heat grill to medium, brush the vegetables with olive oil and grill over direct heat, turning once. Grill eggplant 9 to 11 minutes; pepper 8 to 10 minutes; mushrooms, onion and asparagus 7 to 9 minutes. Vegetables should still be slightly crisp but should show clear signs of having been grilled.

When vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut asparagus spears into thirds, peppers into strips and eggplant into bite-sized pieces; separate onion slices into rings. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil and dress vegetables with mixture; season to taste.

The vegetables may be refrigerated but should be brought to room temperature for serving. To serve, heap the vegetables on a platter. Crumble the goat cheese over the vegetables.

Yield: 8 servings

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