Vadouvan grilled end-of-summer veggies
Step 1. Early morning raid on your fave Farmer’s market. Gather all veggies that look great right now – padron chiles, bell peppers and firmly ripe tomatoes in a rainbow of colors, bok choy, broccolini and broccoli rabe, mushrooms, onions and scallions and fresh heads of garlic (including scapes), kohlrabi, cabbages, summer squashes in any variety, baby carrots.….(about 5 lbs total)
Step 2. Invest a bit of time on prep – wash everything; core bell peppers and tomatoes and slice in thick rounds, peel outer layers of onions and garlic and slice in half crosswise (if using garlic scapes leave whole to grill), peel, slice and soak kohlrabi in salted water, slice cabbages and choy through cores so wedges stay attached, slice squashes in thick rounds, scrape and cut baby carrots in half lengthwise, mushrooms, padron chiles broccoli rabe can just be trimmed and left whole. Put it all away and go have a stretch and a bubble bath.
Step 3. Invite a couple of friends for dinner, chill some wine and some Tiger beers, wander out to the deck and light the grill.
Step 4. Mix vadouvan spice (mix your own or purchase premade (French-Indian curry generally containing onion, shallot, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek) with 1/2 cup safflower oil and juice from 1 lemon in a big, heat-proof glass or ceramic bowl. Place this, a good, sharp knife and a large cutting board next to the grill.
Step 4. Grill those veg! Chilled rosé in one hand, long heat proof tongs in the other. Don’t rush, don’t crowd. Give everything a light char on both sides. As veggies soften, move them to the cutting board. Give ’em a rough chop and slide them into the vadouvan vinaigrette. Toss. Taste and add more lemon and a pinch of salt, if desired.
Step 5. Eat. With grilled meats or fish, if you must, but purely summer with crusty (French!) baguettes to dip in the richly spiced juices, easily (and deliciously) gluten free over rice stick or bean thread noodles. Top what you’re serving with some fresh basil, mint, parsley, cilantro. Chill the rest in a thin layer until cold, then store in jars (‘fridge for a week/freezer 6 months). Amazing quick pasta sauce, bruschetta topping, puree for an awesome veggie dip!
*Please grill responsibly! As much as we love hardwood charcoal grilling, please take note of fire advisories in your area. Propane bbq’s with a soaked dish of wood chips can give great results, too. Always keep an extinguisher handy, as well as making sure the grill is well away from dry plants and siding)