Thursday, October 23, 2008

Melanzane e peperoni alla griglia

This is another one of my mother's dishes, but also an Italian classic. In English it translates to grilled peppers and aubergines. It's an extremely light and healthy vegetarian starter that can be eaten at the beginning of the meal and it's particularly ideal if you have a few guests. You can serve it on a platter, or arrange the prepared vegertables on top of warm slices of bread before serving.

Start from slicing an aubergine into large 1/2 cm slices. Long aubergines are OK, but if you can find big, round ones that's even better. Consider that once cooked, aubergines shrink 2 to 3 times in size when calculating the required amount.

Next, prepare a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, salt, crushed coriander seeds, pepper, dried oregano and salt. Stir well and let the spices blend into the oil.

Brush the mixture onto the slices of aubergines on both sides and put them aside.

Heat a large hot plate and put the aubergine slices on it one by one. Turn them over when golden brown, and repeat the procedure until all the aubergines are cooked.

As you cook the aubergines, lay them on a large serving plate.

In the meantime, put 3 large red peppers into an oven heated up at 190C. Leave them into the oven until the skin is quite burnt. Turn them over a couple of times. Once the skin is uniformly burnt around the whole surface, remove them from the oven and place them into a large paper bag. Seal the bag and let the peppers rest for 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier to remove the skin later.

Slowly peel off the skin from each pepper.

Remove the seeds, lay them flat and slice them lengthwise into 1-2cm wide slices. Arrange each slice onto the same serving plate.

Once both aubergines and peppers are prepared, slice a few cloves of garlic lengthwise, and sprinkle them on top (and inbetween) the vegetables, together with a pinch of salt and a few leaves of fresh basil.

Let the vegetables rest for some time to absorb the flavours, after pouring some extra virgin olive oil directly on top.

After about 15-20 minutes, the aubergines and peppers are ready to be served. They can be eaten as they are or together with some warm Italian bread.

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