Grilled Vegetables With Spicy Italian Neonata
Summer squash, bell peppers, eggplant and greens are the stars of this greenmarket grill party. The spicy vibrant finishing sauce is inspired by Calabrian neonata, a preserved condiment made with hot peppers and baby fish. The condiment is often drizzled onto pasta, pizza or grilled bread. Here, briny anchovies, salami and olives season the sauce with salty, meaty notes to contrast with the spicy pickled cherry peppers and cool, crunchy celery. The fiery, tangy dressing, which can be made a few hours ahead, provides a lively boost for the smoky, tender veggies. Leftover neonata keeps for a week and makes a great sandwich topping the next day.
- Serves: 8 persons
- Neutral oil, for greasing
- 4bell peppers of any color (2 pounds), halved, seeded and sliced into 1-inch strips
- 3zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal
- 3Italian baby eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
- 1 ¼cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 3heads sturdy lettuce, such as romaine or radicchio, quartered through the core
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- 5anchovy fillets, minced into a paste
- 1garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ounces sliced salami or soppressata, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- ½cup jarred sliced hot cherry peppers, finely chopped
- ½cup pitted manzanilla or Cerignola olives, chopped
- 2celery stalks, finely chopped (1 cup)
- ¼cup chopped parsley leaves
Step 1Heat a grill to medium and oil the grates.
Step 2On two large sheet pans, divide bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Drizzle the contents of each sheet pan with 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and toss to evenly coat. In batches, grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until cut sides are tender and lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes for the lettuce, 8 to 10 minutes for the zucchini, and 10 to 12 minutes for the peppers and eggplant. Transfer them to one very large (or two large) serving platters as they finish cooking.
Step 3Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, anchovies and garlic; whisk until well blended. And salami, cherry peppers, olives, celery, parsley and the remaining 3/4 cup oil, and mix well. (Makes about 2 cups neonata.)
Step 4Generously drizzle or spoon some of the neonata over the grilled vegetables. Serve vegetables warm or at room temperature, with the remaining neonata on the side.