Mother Earth Living

A Basil Harvest: Flatbread Pizzas with Marinated Grilled Vegetables and Basil

By Thomas DeBaggio and Susan Belsinger
August/September 1996
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Serves 6 as a main course, 12 as hors d’oeuvres

Grilling vegetables brings out their best flavor. Many vegetables are good this way; choose those you like best or what’s in season. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of your grill or broiler and the distance of the vegetables from the heat. I’ve used Italian-style flatbread shells from the grocery that just need to be heated for 5 to 10 minutes, but pita bread or homemade pizza crusts may be substituted.

• 1 small green zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick, 5 to 6 ounces
• 1 small yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick, 5 to 6 ounces
• 1 small eggplant, quartered lengthwise and sliced 3/8 inch thick, 10 ounces
• 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch strips
• 1 cup packed, coarsely chopped basil leaves
• 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup water
• 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced crosswise about 1/2 inch thick
• 6 six-inch flatbread shells
• Generous 1 cup basil leaves, cut crosswise into thin strips
• Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large, shallow dish, toss the squash, eggplant, and bell pepper slices with the coarsely chopped basil leaves.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, the soy sauce, vinegars, water, and 2 cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Pour this marinade over the vegetables; let them stand for at least 1 hour or as long as 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. In another small bowl, combine the remaining garlic with the remaining olive oil.

4. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire in a grill, and place the rack about 6 inches from the heat. Brush the onion slices with the marinade and grill them on both sides about 4 or 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer them to a baking sheet. Grill the marinated vegetables, turning once, until they are golden brown on both sides. Transfer the grilled vegetables to the baking sheet. Separate the onion rings or cut the slices in half. Salt and pepper the vegetables lightly.

5. Heat the flatbreads on the grill, top side down, for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and brush the tops with the oil-and-garlic mixture. Grill them until they are heated through.

6. Scatter basil strips over the flatbreads and cover them generously with grilled vegetables. Garnish with a few more basil strips and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

A Basil Harvest

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