Vegetarian antipasti is one of my favourites. This time of year I find myself making it every week or so. It is great served as a cold starter or as a side dish for a summer lunch or barbecue. This week I propose peppers and courgettes. Start practising with those and next time I will give you the recipe for roasted aubergines and grilled tomatoes to add to the wonderful and colourful platter of mixed vegetarian antipasti.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
● 4 courgettes
● 4 peppers (yellow, red or orange)
● Crushed and chopped cloves of garlic
● 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
● A small bunch of finely chopped fresh flat parsley
● Extra virgin olive oil
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
● Preheat the oven to 200°C (for the peppers). Cut the head of the peppers off and remove the stem and seeds.
● Wash them and place on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Put in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally.
● When cooked, the skin needs to be almost burned and the peppers' flesh should be tender.
● Remove from the oven, leave to cool slightly and skin the peppers.
● Tip: to make it easier to skin the peppers, put them in a bowl as soon as they come out of the oven and cover with cling film. Allow to stand and cool down for 10-15 minutes, and then peel.
● Cut the peppers into slices lengthwise and put them into a colander to drain for 20 minutes as some juice may still come out of the peppers.
● Place them into a container with some extra virgin olive oil, 1 sliced clove of garlic, capers, salt, pepper and parsley.
● While the peppers are cooking in the oven, prepare the courgettes.
● Wash them, cut off their ends and slice them into long thin strips.
● Heat a griddle on high heat. Once it is very hot, place the courgette slices on top. The slices should not overlap.
● Leave each side to griddle for a couple of minutes or until they turn golden. Once both sides are griddled, remove them and put directly into a container (ideally one that has a lid).
● Add a couple of garlic slices, salt, pepper and parsley and drizzle olive oil on top. Do not mix.
● Griddle the remaining courgettes and lay them on top of the pepper mix; repeat the layering process until all courgettes are cooked. Leave in the container until you are ready to serve.
● Just before serving, remove the peppers and courgettes from their container and arrange on a large platter.
● Both the peppers and the courgettes keep well for a few days covered in the fridge.