Grilled vegetable ratatouille
- 1 medium zucchini;
- 1 medium summer squash;
- 1 medium, slender Asian eggplant;
- 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper or other sweet pepper;
- 1 large red onion;
- 4 Roma tomatoes;
- Vegetable oil, for brushing;
- 3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil;
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar;
- 6 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons;
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram;
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
- Preheat a gas grill or charcoal grill for direct cooking over medium heat. For a gas grill, preheat the burners on high, covered, for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium. For a charcoal grill, open the vents in the bottom of the grill and light the charcoal. (Natural hardwood charcoal is best.) When the coals are covered in gray ash (about 15 minutes after lighting), spread them in an even layer. When you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grate for 5 seconds, the heat is medium.
- While the grill preheats, trim the vegetables. Cut the zucchini, squash, and eggplant crosswise or on the diagonal into 1⁄3-inch-thick slices. Keep them about the same thickness so they’ll cook at the same rate. Cut the pepper into wide planks from around the core. Cut the onion into 1⁄2-inch-wide wedges, leaving a small piece of the root attached to hold the wedge together. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Brush the vegetables with only enough vegetable oil to barely moisten them. (Excess oil will drip off the vegetables and cause flare-ups.)
- To keep the vegetables from falling through the grate, place them in a vegetable basket or on a mesh grilling screen. Grill the vegetables, turning frequently with tongs, until they begin to soften and are lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables into a large bowl and cover to hold in the steam. The steam should finish cooking the vegetables; if it doesn’t, spread them onto a rimmed baking sheet and finish cooking them in a 400°F oven.
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, basil, and oregano in a small bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour over the hot vegetables and toss to coat. Serve the vegetables warm or at room temperature. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- What else works? You can vary the combination or proportion of the vegetables, but you need a total of 2 to 2 1⁄2 pounds. You can replace the olive oil mixture with your favorite bottled vinaigrette or marinade.