© David Loftus
grilled marinated vegetables
Wash all your vegetables. Heat the grill or a griddle pan, put your whole peppers on it, and get them really black on all sides. While still hot, put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to cool.
Slice your zucchini lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick and do the same with your fennel, reserving the herby tops. Grill the zucchini and fennel together on the griddle pan for about a minute on each side, or until nicely charred. You don’t want them too black or too raw. Remove to a clean dish towel in one layer, making sure they don’t sit on top of each other, otherwise they will steam and get soggy.
Cuttheeggplantacrossintoslices1/2 inchthick.Everynowandagain you get an eggplant that is really seedy — if this happens, it will be bitter and no good, so throw it away and get yourself another one. Grill the eggplant slices, turning them 4 times until nicely marked, then remove to the dish towel.
Boil the baby leeks in salted water until they’re just cooked. Then drain, rub with a little olive oil, and grill them quickly until lightly marked.
Peel the peppers but don’t hold them under the tap, as all the sweet fantastic flavor will go down the drain. Carefully rub off the black skin, then remove the stalk and seeds and tear the peppers up into large strips. Now put all the vegetables into a large bowl.
Take about a quarter of your basil leaves and bash them with a mor- tar and pestle with a good pinch of seasoning until you have a smooth pulp. Add about 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar, to taste. Pour this over the vegetables and toss quickly so that every- thing gets coated in the lovely basil oil, then throw in the remaining whole basil leaves. Slice the garlic really thin to give you a delicate fla- vor and add to the bowl with the fennel tops. Mix everything together, and serve on a large plate at room temperature. Great with any grilled fish or meat, or as part of an antipasti plate with some toasted bruschet- ta and some fresh buffalo mozzarella.
• 2 red peppers
• 2 yellow peppers
• 2 medium zucchini
• 1 bulb of fennel
• 1 eggplant
• 8 baby leeks
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
• 2 tablespoons herb or white wine vinegar
• 1 clove of garlic