Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ah, The Many Possibilities
There they sat in the fridge, beckoning. Insisting that they be used while still firm and fresh and full of flavor. A little variegated eggplant, two crook neck squash, a zucchini and a red pepper. I invited a sweet onion and a handful of grape tomatoes to join the crowd and once washed and sliced, I marinated them in a little olive oil, raspberry vinegar, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper.
After coating all the pieces, I transferred the bowlful of veggies and liquid to a Ziploc bag and placed in the fridge for a few hours. Overnight would work well, too. I decided that a quick run under the broiler would be a nice change from all the roasted veggies I've had lately. Roasting caramelizes the sugars and produces a rich, depth of flavor. Broiling the veggies keeps them crisp-tender without the caramelization effect. Depending on how charred you let them get, it's a completely different flavor experience. I like to preserve as much of the nutrients and enzymes as possible without having them still raw. I found that ten minutes with the broiler pan about 4 inches from the element and with the oven door about 6" ajar worked well with my stove.These lovely young tender vegetables have taken on a grilled flavor from the marinade and the light broiling and are ready to take center stage in a variety of dishes. They can be served as a side dish to complement a meat entrée, used to enrich a chicken or vegetable soup, tossed with fresh greens and a lively vinaigrette, perhaps one using raspberry vinegar to enhance the marinade flavor. If these veggies topped pasta, it would be a marvelously colorful Pasta Primevera or they could simply be a great partner with some rich Lundberg Farms mahogany rice, like so:

The rich brown and black rice, cooked in homemade dark vegetable stock made a toothsome companion to the vegetables. And as you probably noticed, I gave the dish an Italian twist with some fresh basil from the patio and a few rasp strokes across a wedge of Parmesan cheese. I enjoyed a colorful light supper with a glass of Cabernet, some crusty peasant bread, a few brine cured olives—it would do any bistro proud.

Till next time . . . keep on cooking!


Freya and Paul said...

Looks beautiful! Paul makes a similar dish with diced Halloumi Cheese!

Kate said...

That not only looks beautiful but it is beautifully written. A love food writing that gives you a 'taste' of what is being written! Great job!

Joyce said...

Thanks, Kate, for your kind words!
When are you going to provide a link to your blog?

Kelly-Jane said...

Mmm, that looks good. This is my favourite sort of baked veggie mix.