Lotsa Grilled Primavera
Grilling enhances the fresh flavors of this medley of summer vegetables while whole-grain pasta provides a base for the sauce redolent of fresh basil and fennel tops. Toasted whole-grain bread crumbs add a welcome crunch.
• 2 tablespoons herb-infused olive oil, preferably, plus more for brushing the grill
• 8 firm ‘Roma’ tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeded, and drained
• 3 cloves fresh garlic in their skin
• 1 bulb fennel, tops reserved
• 1 small sweet yellow onion, outer skin removed
• 1 eight-inch zucchini
• 1 small eggplant, about 3/4 pound
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
• Salt to taste
• 3/4 pound whole-grain linguine
• 1/4 cup fresh, toasted whole-grain herbed bread crumbs
1) Oil the grill and make a hot fire. Brush the cut edges of the tomatoes lightly with oil and grill for 5 minutes on each side, cut side first. Wrap the garlic cloves tightly in foil and place them near the edge of the grill. Quarter the fennel bulb and the onion, leaving the root balls intact so they will hold together on the grill. Cut the tops and bottoms off the zucchini and eggplant, then cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Rub the cut edges of the eggplant with half of the lemon juice. Lightly coat all vegetables with half of the remaining olive oil. Reduce the fire. Transfer the tomatoes to a glass baking dish. Grill the other vegetables, turning frequently.
2) Remove and discard the tomato skin and chop the flesh in the baking dish. Stir in the basil, 2 tablespoons chopped fennel tops, and the remaining oil and lemon juice.
3) Remove the remaining vegetables to a large cutting board as they become tender. Discard the skin of the garlic and eggplant. Dice the vegetables and toss them with the tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
4) Boil the linguine. When it is al dente, drain, and place it in a serving dish. Serve topped with the sauce and the bread crumbs.
Debbie Whittaker, a frequent contributor to The Herb Companion, demonstrates her healthy cooking style as the Herb Gourmet in Denver, Colorado.