Grilled Vegetable Antipasto with Herbs Chèvre and Crostini

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This dish is particularly delicious in summer, when zucchini, peppers, and summer squash are farm-fresh. You can also pile the grilled vegetables onto crusty French bread that’s been slathered with creamy chèvre. Or make hors d’ oeuvres by topping Crostini with slices of grilled vegetable and some crumbled chèvre. The vegetables can be grilled up to 1 hour in advance; assemble just before serving.

 Serves 6 to 8

 For the grilled vegetable antipasto

Safflower oil or canola oil for oiling the grill
½ cup olive oil
¼ balsamic vinegar
5 fresh basil leaves, cut into very thin strips (chiffonade)
2 zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices lengthwise
2 yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices lengthwise
1 red onion, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch strips
7 scallions, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
1 recipe Herbed Chèvre (recipe follows)
1 recipe Herbed Balsamic Vinaigrette
Fresh parsley and fresh basil, to garnish, optional

For the herbed chèvre

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped, or mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, and dill
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce mild, creamy chèvre log

For the grilled vegetable antipasto

1. Brush the grill grates lightly with the safflower oil. Prepare a hot fire on a gas or charcoal grill.

2. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and basil in a small bowl until well blended. Brush the zucchini, yellow squash, onion, red bell peppers, and scallions with the olive oil mixture. Place the vegetables on the hot grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side until crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup hot water, covered, about 5 minutes or until softened. Drain and set aside. (Note: Eliminate this step if you are using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.)

4. Arrange the grilled vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, and sliced tomatoes on individual plates or a serving platter. Add a slice of chèvre on the side of the vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with the vinaigrette, and drizzle a little more vinaigrette around the plate. Garnish with the parsley and basil. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with crostini.

For the herbed Chèvre

1. Mix the parsley and pepper together on a plate. Roll the chèvre log in the mixture, pressing lightly so the seasonings adhere. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 to 2 hours.

2. Remove the log from the refrigerator and unwrap. Cut into 1-inch slices with string, dental floss, or wire. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


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