Tower of Mediterranean Vegetables
This is a nice dish to prepare on the barbecue but it also works well when cooked in a grill pan. You can vary the grilled vegetables to your own taste and adding round slices of goats cheese or mozzarella in the layers makes a tasty addition.
4 Portions as a main or 6 as a starter
Prep: 15-20 minutes
Cook: 10-15 minutes
- 2 large aubergines
- 2 courgettes, yellow or green
- 2 red peppers
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. pesto sauce
- 100g rocket leaves or lamb lettuce
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. Pesto
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp. mint leaves shredded
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1/4 lime
- Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cut aubergines into thick slices (you need 2 fairly uniform slices per person), Slice the courgette lengthwise, sprinkle with salt, leave to sweat for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Place the peppers on a hot barbecue or Grill or roast them (under very hot grill or in very hot oven) until skin is charred and blistered. Remove skin, cut flesh into strips and mix with a little olive oil.
- Season the aubergines and courgettes and toss them in olive oil so that they are well coated but not drenched. Place them on a moderate barbecue or on a hot grill pan and cook for 4-6 minutes turning them half way through cooking time, the vegetables should be golden brown with distinctive grill marks.
- Place 1 aubergine slice on the center of each plate. Then place half the courgette slices on the aubergines, followed by half the pepper strips, and a little pesto. Sprinkle rocket or lettuce over, then the dressing. Carefully repeat the layers and finish with a polenta crouton.
- Mix the tomato the garlic, onion, mint, lime juice, oil and seasoning and sprinkle it around the edge of the dish and serve.
- 200g polenta
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 30g butter
- Olive oil for grilling
- Line a flat baking tin with non-stick baking parchment or olive oil. Cook the polenta according to packet instructions. When it is done, stir in the Parmesan, the butter, salt and pepper, making sure that it is adequately seasoned. While still hot, pour it out evenly to make a thin even layer. Leave to cool completely.
- To finish the polenta, cut it with a round 3inch-pastry cutter or cup. Brush with olive oil and char grill on a moderate barbecue or hot grill pan, creating a lattice pattern on both sides.
- Most supermarkets sell premade set polenta in vacuum sealed packets on the shelves with the pasta products. These are useful when you don't have the time to make the polenta yourself.