This recipe is about celebrating seasonal veg; cooking them simply on a barbecue or griddle pan then dressing them with a few clever ingredients to really bring out the natural flavours and compliment that smokiness from the cooking process.
You can vary the veg if you want to – just cut it all up so that it’ll be a pleasure to eat. This is ideal for a light lunch served with grilled fish or meat, or treated as a warm salad in part of a bigger spread.
Let your barbecue die down ready to cook or put a griddle pan on a high heat to get nice and hot. Slice the aubergine about 1cm thick, slice the fennel bulb at an angle about 3mm thick, then slice the courgettes lengthways in about the same thickness as the fennel. Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. Leave the peppers and patty pans, if using, whole.
Pile everything onto a large tray ready to cook. In batches, add the veg to your barbecue or hot griddle to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until charred, soft and delicious. Remember that each vegetable will cook in a different amount of time so keep checking and turning everything and as soon as it is looking good, transfer it to a large bowl (keeping the cooked peppers and patty pans to one side) and get the next lot of veg on.
Carefully remove the black skin on the peppers, open them up and scrape away the seeds. Don’t worry about getting all of the skin off but do the best you can. This is a messy job but totally worth it! Tear the peppers up into strands and add to the bowl. Halve the patty pans and add those too, along with the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Gently toss it all together and have a taste to check the seasoning, then fold through the basil leaves, reserved fennel tops and garlic.