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I I love putting vegetables on a griddle or barbecue: they look great (those charred black stripes look fabulous against the colored background of the vegetable in question), they taste good (those charred black stripes equal more flavor and of texture) and there is something sturdy and reliable and invaluable about them that, arguably, their sausage friends don’t always display. Stuff them, roast them, grill them, dress them: it’s time to play!

Grilled romaine lettuce with charred corn and salsa roja (pictured above)

Grilling balances the natural bitterness of romaine. If you cook them on a barbecue, wait for the flames to go out first.

Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 35 minutes
Serves 4

100ml buttermilk
4 romaine lettuces
cut in half lengthwise
50ml vegetable oilor other neutral oil

For the salsa roja
3 plum tomatoes (250g)
1 romano pepperhalved lengthwise, stem, seeds and pith removed (150g)
1 onionpeeled and cut into quarters
5 red peppersstems removed, seeds and pith scraped and discarded if you prefer less heat (50g)
1 whole head of garliccloves separated and unpeeled
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

For the corn relish
2 corn ears
50g unsalted butter
1½ teaspoon urfa pepper
1 lime
finely grated zest, to obtain 1 teaspoon, then squeezed, to obtain 2 teaspoons
2 small spring onionstrimmed and thinly sliced
Flake sea salt, table salt and black pepper

First prepare the salsa roja. Put a lightly greased grill pan over high heat and ventilate the kitchen. Once the pan is hot, lay in the tomatoes, bell pepper (cut side down), onion wedges, chili peppers and garlic cloves, and grill, turning if necessary, until browned. charred and softened – garlic will take four to five minutes, chili peppers about 10, and tomatoes, onions and peppers 20-25 minutes. When each vegetable is charred and ready, transfer it to a plate and let it cool.

Once the tomatoes, onions and peppers are removed from the griddle, add the corn and char, turning as needed, for about five minutes. Remove from the griddle and allow to cool, and keep the pan on low heat.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and put the flesh in a blender with all the other charred vegetables except the corn. Add the vinegar, sugar, cumin, 50ml water and three quarters of a teaspoon of salt, and puree until smooth. Pour this into a medium bowl, then stir in the buttermilk.

Stand each ear of corn vertically on a board and run a sharp knife around the sides to remove the kernels (discard the kernel or save it for broth). Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for five to eight minutes, until it’s melted, smells nutty, and is golden brown. Off the heat, stir in the urfa and corn, then leave to cool.

Increase the heat under the griddle. Brush the cut side of the lettuce halves with half the oil, then place four of them, cut side down, on the grill and grill for four minutes. Brush the outside of the romaine lettuce halves with more oil, carefully flip them over, char for another four minutes, then arrange them cut side up on a platter. Repeat with the remaining four romaine lettuce halves and the oil.

Sprinkle the charred lettuce with a good pinch of flaked sea salt, then pour over the salsa roja and buttermilk mixture, pushing the sauce between the leaves. Stir the lime zest, juice, spring onions and a quarter teaspoon of flaked salt into the corn mixture, sprinkle over the lettuce and serve warm or at room temperature.

Small grilled peppers stuffed with cheese and onion

From Charred Lettuce to Stuffed Peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Grilled Vegetable Recipes |  Food
Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled peppers stuffed with cheese and onion.

Mini peppers are super sweet and have a great texture when roasted. If cooking them on a barbecue, wait for the flames to die down to an ember before adding the peppers; meanwhile, when the coals are hottest, char the spring onions. If you want to make ahead, char the onions and stuff the peppers the night before. You will need at least 16 small toothpicks to secure the stuffing inside the peppers.

Preparation 5 minutes
To cook 45 minutes
Serves 4 as starter or as part of a meze

8 small peppers (AKA Piccellera peppers; approx. 400g)

For the stuffing
8 spring onionstrimmed, green parts thinly sliced, whites left whole (130g)
2 teaspoons vegetable or sunflower oil
150g cream cheese
30g parmesanfinely grated (or a vegetarian alternative)
1 large limehalved, one half zested to make ½ tsp, and juiced to make 1½ tsp, the other half left whole
flake salt and black pepper

For the honey vinaigrette
1½ tbsp runny honey
1½ tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

First prepare the filling. Heat a frying pan over high heat until steaming. Place the spring onion whites in a medium bowl with the vegetable oil, toss to coat, then add to the hot skillet and grill, turning often, for about six minutes, until tender. completely blackened. Transfer to a plate to cool and keep the griddle on low.

Once the grilled onions have cooled, chop them finely and put them in a bowl with the cream cheese, the parmesan, the lime zest, a quarter of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well, cover with a plate and refrigerate.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl with the sliced ​​spring onion leaves, lime juice, a quarter teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.

Cut the stalk and 5mm of flesh off the top of each pepper, to make little caps, then, using a teaspoon, gently scrape out and discard the seeds and pith without tearing the flesh. Using the same spoon, fill each pepper three-quarters full with the cream cheese mixture, put the lid back on top, and secure it in place with two toothpicks.

Return the heat under the skillet to high and, when very hot, char the peppers, turning them regularly, for 10-12 minutes, until evenly charred, then remove and let cool. Place the undamaged lime half on the hot grill, grill for two to three minutes, until well charred, then transfer to a small plate.

Arrange the peppers on a platter, remove the toothpicks, then pour the vinaigrette over them. Squeeze the charred lime over it, sprinkle with a quarter teaspoon of flaked salt and serve hot.

Roasted leeks with beetroot tahini and hazelnut salsa

From Charred Lettuce to Stuffed Peppers: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Grilled Vegetable Recipes |  Food
Yotam Ottolenghi Roasted Leeks with Beet Tahini and Hazelnut Salsa.

This very dramatic looking dish can be cooked on a barbecue or in a hot oven (if so, start them on the hottest part of the barbecue, then move them to a cooler place to cook) . These amounts yield more than enough tahini for this dish. Store excess in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, to drizzle over grilled meat or vegetables.

Preparation 5 minutes
To cook 35 minutes
Serves 4 as starter

4 leeksall similar in size and about 3cm in diameter, trimmed, white and light green parts only

For the salsa
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
100ml olive oil
75 g blanched hazelnuts
toasted and coarsely ground in a mortar
1 lemonfinely grated zest, to obtain 1½ teaspoons, then squeezed, to obtain 2 teaspoons
2 red peppershalved lengthwise and thinly sliced ​​(remove and discard seeds and pith if you prefer less heat)
30g parsley leavescoarsely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper flakes

For the beet tahini
90 g of cooked beetscut into 1 cm pieces
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
75g tahini

Heat the grill to high heat and place an oven rack on the top shelf. Arrange the leeks 5 cm apart on the oven rack and slide a large baking sheet underneath to catch the cooking juices. Grill for 20 minutes, turning two or three times as needed, until completely charred. Lower the grill to medium and cook the leeks for an additional 15 minutes, turning once, until fully charred and tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin and cilantro for three or four minutes, until fragrant, then remove from the heat, add the olive oil and let cool. Put all the other salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and when cool, add the spicy oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt.

Now for the beet tahini. In a blender or small food processor, combine the beetroot, lemon juice, vinegar and 50ml water, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the tahini and a quarter teaspoon of salt, mix again until smooth and silky, then scrape into a bowl.

When the leeks are ready, arrange them on a board and cut the length of each to open it; do not cut completely. Sprinkle the inside with a good pinch of flaked salt, then transfer the leeks to a dish. Fill the inside with half the salsa and a good bit of pepper and sprinkle with a good amount of tahini. Drizzle with the remaining salsa and serve immediately with more tahini on the side.

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