16 January 2013

Herby Grilled Vegetables

I recently had friends over from the UK & they popped round for a little lunch in the sun.  We have been enjoying the most spectacular Summer here this year which has made it very difficult to get back in to work mode.   It gets to mid-afternoon & you still feel like you should be opening a bottle of something chilled that is not water & preferably post a little afternoon snooze or siesta.  The said friends I hadn’t seen in 12 years & totally forgot one was a vegetarian! 

Fortunately there are always plenty of vegetables on hand & these hot summer days reminded me of Valencia & platters of grilled vegetables we used to have alongside the tapas & aqua de Valencia…see it’s mid afternoon & that craving for something chilled is kicking in… the Valencian’s have the best “agua”. Traditionally it is cava topped with orange juice & a little vodka & gin.  The perfect afternoon tipple in the sun. 

It was first made in 1959 by Constante Gil in the bar Café Madrid de Valencia. A group of Basque travelers were regulars for a time & used to order “Agua de Bilbao” meaning the best cava that the bar had on offer.  Wanting a little variety they challenged Constante to come up with something new & that something new was "Agua de Valencia" which by all accounts went down a treat & became a favourite tipple for the travelers.

I digress, back to the vegetables. If you are having a BBQ & feeding a crowd & it includes vegetarians this is great dish, substantial, pretty & a little more interesting than lettuce & tomato.  Non vegetarians will also love it. Even better it can be made ahead leaving you more time to catch up properly & make the most of time with old friends. 

Herby Grilled Vegetables

Serves 4-6


A mixture of vegetables....a good variety & a mixture of colours works well

Here’s what I used...but sweet corn, aubergine, tomatoes, carrots, squash, potatoes, kumura would work too.  Really, try anything you think that you can grill.

With the dressing, again you can play around with what you have herb wise & if, like me you like your dressings on the tarter side just add a splash or 2 of more vinegar.  Dill or rosemary could work as could the addition of a few capers. I also think a little goat’s cheese crumbled over the top wouldn’t go amiss.

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed
1 bunch asparagus, woody stalks removed
1 red pepper, sliced in to 2cm/1 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, sliced in to 2cm /1 inch pieces
1 zucchini, sliced in to 1cm/1/2 inch slices on the diagonal
1 cup of button mushrooms
Olive oil 

For the herby dressing
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup mint
Zest & juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, roasted on BBQ alongside the vegetables
3 tbsp chardonnay or other good quality vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper


Fire up the BBQ or heat a griddle pan over  medium heat. I recommend the BBQ as all the veg can be grilled at once rather than batch by batch unless you are luck enough to have one of those large cast iron griddles that are like a BBQ for the indoors.

Toss the vegetables in a little olive oil & then place on the grill. Grill all the vegetables until they have a few griddle marks & are just cooked through.  Once cooked remove from the grill & place on a platter.

For the dressing place the herbs, garlic, lemon zest & juice & the vinegar in a food processor & whizz to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil & whizz until well combined.  Season to taste & add more vinegar or olive oil if you need to adjust to suit your taste. You are looking for a herby, vibrant green emulsion that can be gently drizzled over the vegetables.

Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables & very gently toss with some tongs to coat.  Set aside to allow the flavours to meld & then serve at room temperature.

The fresh  green parsley & cool mint alongside the fragrant basil piping up to remind you that it is indeed Summer make for a vibrant companion to the grilled vegetables that all develop a sweetness when grilled.

And to finish off a little, or a not so little, slice of Mum's pav which tasted just as good as it looked.

If you like this you might like this Grilled Vegetables with Lemon Cumin Yogurt with Dukkah
One year ago Te Motu Waiheke
Two years ago Roasted Peach Ice Cream Melba



  1. What a stunning platter of tempting veggies, Mairi! Wish I had it in front of me right now to dig in to... Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thanks Hannah, loving the weekend..it is a long & sunny one!


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