For me, this is good weather on a platter. This is the kind of dish that spurs you towards the barbecue with your dad or best friend, the kind of recipe you can enjoy making and eating in the sun at a large table with a group of loved ones. Even the taste – fresh and bursting with flavour – is reminiscent of spring and summer.
It is unusual for vegetables to take centre stage in a meal but honestly, this recipe is the time to let veggies shine, especially as summer nears and the variety of fresh produce increases multifold.
The inspiration for this dish came from a cooking class I took at the London Chef for my mother’s birthday a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, I had never been to a cooking class before and I was pleasantly surprised by how fun and informative it was. My family is rather competitive so within the first ten minutes, we had turned answering the Chef’s questions correctly and mimicking his exact techniques into our a kind of game show.
Happily, when there is food involved, everyone wins and the London Chef’s version of this dish astonished us with its simplicity and deliciousness, enough so that I turned right around and reproduced it for my mother three days after.
You can grill the vegetables on the barbeque or in a pan over high heat on the stove. The key to getting delicious colour on these veggies is to leave them for at least two minutes on each side, without giving into the urge to flip them constantly. This is my favorite combination of vegetables to use but you could also add mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, squash or Brussels sprouts if you have them on hand.
These Provencal style vegetables are delicious served at room temperature too and keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. I also create a sandwich with the leftovers, laying the vegetables between two thick slices of bread with some hummus, which I would highly recommend you try as well.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 4 peppers
- 2 lbs asparagus
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 5 boneless anchovy fillets, diced
- 2 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Wash, dry and dice the vegetables into your desired shapes. I prefer to cut the cylindrical vegetables into rounds. Ensure that each vegetable is diced evenly so that they cook at the same rate.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over high heat on the stove. Add a splash of avocado oil and add one layer of vegetables. Cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes to give them colour, before flipping over. Do this to the eggplants, peppers, asparagus, zucchini and lemon halves until done. If the vegetables are oily, pat them dry with a paper towel before rearranging them on a platter.
- For the salsa verde, roughly chop the mint, parsley and basil before adding to a small bowl with the avocado oil. Dice the anchovy fillets and the capers and add with the salt and Dijon mustard to the herb mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour over the arranged vegetables. Squeeze the roasted lemons on top when ready to serve, either warm or at room temperature.