This is one of those lazy non-recipe recipes that I love about the summertime. Because the vegetables this time of year are so flavorful all on their own, you really don’t need to do much to to turn any Farmers’ Market find into a stunner side dish, or pair with some fresh mozzarella for light weeknight dinner. With a few springs of fresh herbs, some extra virgin olive oil, and a grill (or, if you live in a tiny New York apartment with no outdoor space, then a grill pan works just fine), you can make this dish with just about any summer vegetables, so I guess it qualifies as more of a method than a recipe. Since it just happens to be summer squash/zucchini season and I am getting them by the arm load from our CSA, I used summer squash and some plump eggplants that I picked up at Union Square Green Market. And, because this method works with just about any non-leafy vegetable you’ll come across at Farmers’ Market, you can swap out peppers, young onions, tomatoes, asparagus, radishes, sugar snap peas, or leeks.
1 arm load of fresh summer vegetables
1-2 large sprigs of fresh herbs (choose a sturdy one like sage or rosemary so it will hold up on the grill)
4-5 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash vegetables thoroughly and dry.
Using a large sharp knife (a sharp knife is critical to keep the size of your vegetables slices consistent) slice your vegetables lengthwise to create 1/3 inch thick disks. The easiest way to do this with a vegetable similar in shape to a zucchini or an eggplant is to lop off around a half inch at the bottom of it, so the vegetable can stand upright on its own, and then slice it downwards from the top.
Finely chop the fresh herbs.
Toss sliced vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper, chopped herbs, salt and pepper to coat.
Heat grill pan on high and place vegetable slices in a single layer. Since the goal is to create grill marks by carmelizing the parts that are touching the pan, be sure not to crowd the pan and don’t disturb the vegetables while they are cooking.
Let cook for 3 minutes and then flip, being careful not to disturb them while they cook on the opposite side. Grill in shifts, until you get through your stack of veggie slices.
Eat them hot off of the grill, at room temperature, or chilled. Grilled vegetables are so simple and delicious that you’ll love to eat them at any temperature.