Italian Style Mixed Grill of Vegetables

Cucina de Joseph and Traudi Chiaravalloti

The original recipe is from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook, now out of print but available in an edited sequel. The recipe which follows is freely adapted from Marcella Hazan's Verdura mista in gratticola, and represents how we, ourselves, have come to prepare this meal. This is a grand grill preparation to feed 4 or more people, with or without meat. Feel free to leave out some of the vegetables for more informal suppers or to add some of your favorites. We often separate the roasted peppers from the rest of this and present them separately as antipasto or as a stand alone dinner with crusty bread and home made hot sausages. They are definitely worth doing with this mixed grill for company, but may be too much food for two with all the other things. The recipe for stuffed portobello is mine.

As Marcella points out, it takes longer to describe this preparation than it does to actually cook it, but it is ideally a two person operation: a chef de cuisine to prepare stuff for the grill and to combine and plate the output and a Grillmeister to grill.

The onion and garlic will take a little over 1/2 hour of grilling time, while the zucchini and small eggplant go the fastest. Start the onion, whole garlic heads, and whole peppers early, while you are still preparing the other dishes. Last to go on are the meat (if any) and the bread for bruschetta.

Leftovers are useful and desirable. The zucchini and onion dish is a great omelet or frittata filling, while the peppers are themselves one of the finest antipasti Italian cucina has to offer.


The pantry (stuff you've just got to have):

Au gratin crumbs for the tomatoes and mushrooms. Save your heels and crusts of home made or other top quality bread, broken up and dried in a paper bag. Reduce them to crumbs in a food processor, adding a small drizzle of red wine if the crusts are very hard and dry. Drizzle in a few tablespoonsful of good olive oil and a handful of grated pecarino Romano cheese. Bag it and freeze it for toppings, stuffings, and breading.


  Cooking - Der Grillmeister.

Turn all three burners of your Weber gas grill on high. When the temperature reads 450-500, put in the dishes of whole garlic, the split onions, cut side down, and the whole peppers. Close the lid. For this preparation leave the grill on full blast for the duration, but watch everything closely, especially the zucchini, eggplant, and bruschetta.

Turn the peppers every few minutes, until well blistered or charred all around. Place in a paper bag to further loosen the skins.

When the onion is well marked by the grill, turn the halves up, and brush with the seasoned olive oil baste. Cook until bubbling and tender or until everything else is finished.

The garlic is done when the cloves are tender and climb out of their skins when pushed with a spatula.

Add the portobello mushrooms. Cook until crumbs are brown and flesh is tender. Baste as needed.

Add the tomatoes cut side up. They are done when they bubble and feel soft.

Add the zucchini and eggplant cut side down and cook until browned and grill marked. Then turn over, baste and continue to cook until bubbling and tender.

When the last veggies are off, fire up the grill to hot and do the lamb chops. A nice flare up is helpful. Go for medium rare.

Just as the meat is coming off the grill, add the bread over a very hot fire. The bread should be browned and grill marked on both sides, with a firm, crusty surface. If the fire is hot, the bruschetta may take only a minute. Let the chef de cuisine finish the bruschetta, while the Grillmeister pours the wine.


Cooking - Le chef de cuisine.

Here is what you should end up with:

bon appétit