“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Antipasto

In keeping with some of my recent posts about healthy food options (stuffed Italin pepper) and the healthy Italian lifestyle. today I would like to share with you my recipe for Grilled Vegetable Antipasto. To call it a recipe seems a little silly, since it is really just vegetables grilled with oil and garlic, but nonetheless, I will call it a recipe just so you know exactly how to prepare it to ensure that they come out perfectly.
Antipasto translates to before the meal.  It is a traditional first course of an Italian meal. Most antipasto features a lovely spread of olives, cured meats, mozzarella or provolone and grilled mixed vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and artichoke hearts.

The contents of an antipasto vary a lot according to regional cuisine. In the South of Italy they have saltwater fish and southern meats like soppressata (an Italian dry salami), but in the north it will have other cured meats and freshwater fish. The cheeses also vary depending what region you’re in.

I love antipasto because it is a wonderful way to start a meal. Vegetables, cheese and olives are a wonderful beginning to anything, right?? This version is completely vegan, but I will be sharing many different antipasto recipes in the next few weeks so everyone can feel included. I use eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers that I got at my local farmers market. I also used some Brussels sprouts which are not Italian; I just really like Brussels sprouts. Most people don’t however, so I’m not going to include them in the actual recipe. You may use whatever vegetables you like, but I really suggest eggplant and zucchini, they lend themselves very nicely to this preparation.

This of course can be used as a side to some pasta or some nice grilled meat as well. You can also put it on some ciabatta, add some mozzerella and grill. However you prepare it, I guarantee you will love it.

Grilled Vegetable Antipasto
1 large eggplant
2 medium sized zucchini
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers

¾ cup of olive oil
1 full head of garlic (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

First start off by cutting your eggplant, zucchini and peppers, the thinner they are cut, the faster they will grill.

Next chop all of your garlic. Add your olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the oil mixture in a zip lock bag and add the vegetables. Make sure all of the vegetables are thoroughly coated in the marinade. Let it sit for about an hour.

If you have a flat grill top, I would recommend using that. If not, a regular grill pan will do just fine. Heat it over medium heat. Add the eggplant first since that takes the longest to cook. I usually leave the eggplant to cook for around 15 minutes before adding the other vegetables. Next, add the zucchini and peppers. I like my vegetables very, very grilled (almost to the point that you would think they’re burned, but I assure you, they’re not!!) All together, let them cook for 45 minutes. Take off the pan and put on a serving plate and lightly salt. Let me know what you usually like in your antipasto! Buon Appetito!!