Verdure Mista con Mozzarella -- Grilled Mixed Vegetables with Mozzarella
|1-1/8 to 1-1/4 cup ||extra virgin olive oil|
|1/4 cup ||chopped fresh mint|
|1/4 cup ||chopped fresh basil|
|6 cloves ||garlic, chopped|
|1/2 tsp. ||red pepper, crushed|
|6 ||md. zucchini, trimmed and each cut length wise into 4 strips|
|4 ||Japanese eggplants, trimmed and each cut length wise into 4 strips|
|4 ||red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and each cut lengthwise into 6 strips|
|2 (8 oz. each) ||balls fresh mozzarella, water packed, thinly sliced|
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Set out 3 bowls large enough to hold one of the three vegetables. Divide the olive oil evenly between the three bowls. (Approximately 6-7 tbsp. in each bowl.) Add the chopped mint to one bowl, the basil and chopped garlic to another bowl and the crushed red pepper to the third.
Add the zucchini to the bowl with the mint, and toss well to coat all of the zucchini. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the basil and garlic. Toss the eggplant to coat it well with the marinade. Add the pepper strips to the crush red pepper and oil. Toss the peppers strips until all the pepper is coated. Let stand at room temperature for about an hour, tossing each occasionally.
Prepare a grill, either indoor or outside BBQ. Oil the racks. Grill vegetables until just slightly charred and tender, turning occasionally to avoid blackening them.
Arrange cooked vegetables on a platter, interspersed with slices of mozzarella. Drizzle each with its own marinade. Use additional marinade as a dipping sauce for each of the vegetables.
This is a rendition of a classic antipasto or side vegetable, served in traditional Sicilian style . . . simply with little or no embellishments, allowing for the full flavors of the vegetables to come through. I believe that is one of the more important aspects of just about all Italian dishes. They keep the preparation and ingredients simple, yet bold enough to make the main ingredient robust and stand out in all its glory.
From my cookbook: The "Old Country" Italian Cookbook, by Donald J.P. La Marca