For the fun of it I made these two vegetable platters for the department’s holiday party.
On the left, a bed of grilled fennel with yellow squash and zucchini sits under eight half-rounds of roasted eggplant. Eight grilled asparagus spears suggest the shape of a menorah, while yellow and red peppers are the candles that are lit today. Partially visible is a swirl of grilled scallions in the center, and some red and sweet onion wedges are arranged underneath.
On the right, the triangle of asparagus outlining grilled leeks represents the shape of a Christmas tree. It’s set on some grilled Italian peppers, and rosemary leaves suggest the pine needs. Small pieces of yellow and red pepper are the ornaments. Some roasted jalapenos and more grilled onion wedges complete the picture.
The three sauces are a lemon aiolli, romesco and tapenada. No, I didn’t make these myself but I could have.
This was kind of fun to do, and not all that expensive. I turned the oven on to 425 and fired up the griddle pan. The thing is to remember what can cook enough on the griddle pan, and what needs additional time. So the eggplant gets a quick sear, then goes in the oven. Same with the fennel, onions and the leeks. Scallions, yellow squash, zucchini and asparagus just get the grill and are put aside separately. The peppers get the blacken-on-a-burner treatment, then tossed in a paper bag to steam, and peeled under running water to remove the skin.
Final assembly took maybe 20 minutes.