It's rather a wet, windy and cold here today - very wet - I got soaked on my way to work, so spending time 'doing my hair' this morning was rather a waste. Therefore, to cheer myself up I'm going to talk about Mediterranean vegetables which will remind me of summer ........... warm hot days ......... time for barbecues and wine........... relaxing in the sunshine ..........just don't look towards the window ......ahh it's still raining!
I used to buy a tub of these chargrilled vegetables every week from the deli counter in my local supermarket - they are great for adding to salads, mixing into couscous, piling onto cheese and cold meats or just snacking on. However, they are really expensive for the amount you get and to be perfectly honest, I can make a massive amount for the same price at home so I stopped being lazy and a few months ago started making it at home.
It's really simple to do, any Mediterranean veg are great in it - I always use courgettes and peppers as the base and then add a few of the following - aubergine, artichokes, tomatoes, onions, spring onions, chillies, asparagus, mange tout, baby corn and even broccoli spears. The list is endless just see what your fruit and veg shop has that looks good and fresh.
Recipe - enough for 4 large servings
(this is the recipe I used last week)
60ml good extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice of a lemon
1 large courgette
1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper
1 jar artichoke hearts - in olive oil
a jar of my sunblush tomatoes - made with large tomatoes that had been quartered
You can make this either under the grill or on a cast iron griddle (but you will only get the stripes with a griddle)
Whilst the grill or griddle is heating up you have time to prepare the dressing. In a pestle and mortar pound up the garlic with a little salt and then add the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix together and add a little more salt. Set aside, in a warm place, until you have finished the vegetables.
Cut the courgettes and peppers into thick-ish slices, the artichokes need to be drained from the oil and excess patted off. The tomatoes are already perfect so they just need to be left as they are.
If you choose to use any other veg just prepare as seems fit i.e. aubergines into rings and salted if you wish, chillies, baby corn, spring onions etc kept whole. Onions peeled and sliced into thin wedges with the root still on to hold it together.
Your griddle/grill should now be ready. Do not add oil just place the veg on and leave it to burn! well not completely you want them to soften and then start to catch, keep turning the peppers so you get an even burn, turn the courgettes after they have softened, leave the artichokes until last as they have oil on them and will cook quickly - Make sure you have your extractor fan going or you will smoke the family out - once the peppers and courgettes have blackened remove from the heat and place in a large plastic container. Spoon over some of the dressing and set aside whilst you repeat the process with the artichokes. The secret to this dish is to add the dressing whilst everything
Once you have finished the artichokes add to the peppers and courgettes along with the tomatoes. Pour over the remaining dressing and mix gently with your hands to coat all the vegetables. Cover and leave to cool before placing in the fridge.
These Mediterranean vegetables will keep for a week in the fridge but you will need to bring them out to warm to room temperature before using.
Have an excellent day