Sometimes there’s nothing more delicious than a simple dish made from vegetables, olive oil and herbs. I roasted the veggies at home in the oven even though in our cookbook, Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta by Deborah Szekely, Deborah Schneider, Robert Holmes, the recipe calls for grilling them. Either way, they’re divine and easy to make. In fact, I would say this dish is perfect for outdoor summer barbecues and potlucks. This may become my go to side dish for the summer!
Here is the recipe and an excerpt from the book:
Baby vegetables are a cook’s delight but a gardener’s headache. The problem, says Salvador, is that they are small one day but not the next, and chefs want them all the same size. Picky chefs aside, summer is the time to look for true baby vegetables at farmers’ markets or in your garden.
Baby vegetables are a taste revelation when grilled. The trick is to cook them quickly over a hot fire so they retain their crunch but pick up a little smoky flavor. Little zucchini become creamy and tender. Little leeks, about the thickness of your thumb, have a sweet flavor and distinctive snap all their own. Tiny baby carrots and new onions are so sweet that it will be a wonder if any make it out of the kitchen.
Particular favorites are baby potatoes, mini bell peppers, baby corn, Brussels sprouts, sliced sweet potatoes, asparagus, and eggplant.
- Assorted baby vegetables, trimmed and peeled, if necessary (about 8 to 10 pieces per person)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Medium-coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, chervil, or thyme
- Build a hot fire in a grill or heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat.
- Toss the vegetables with enough olive oil to coat lightly, add a sprinkle of salt, and drain off any excess. Place the vegetables in a grilling basket for the outdoor grill and cook quickly on both sides. If cooking in a stove top grill pan, set the vegetables in the pan and don’t move them until they have grill marks on one side. Then shake the pan several times, cook for 1 minute more if necessary, and turn out onto a plate.
- Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, and serve the room temperature. Serves six.
Note: If you use an outdoor grill, a grilling basket is essential. These may be purchased at any cookware or garden store. If you don’t have a grill, baby vegetables of all kinds take well to indoor grilling, pan-roasting or searing.