A wealth of late summer fruit vegetables

September is arguably the most generous month of the year when it comes to vegetables. Usually the sight of all those ripe tomatoes and peppers, aubergines and so on makes me want to dive into the kitchen. I hope you do too, because the plan is to get started here in the coming weeks with this wealth of late summer fruit vegetables.

Today we start with a recipe for escalivada, a classic of Catalan cuisine that is as simple as it is genius: roasted and peeled peppers, aubergines and onions, served cold, generously drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with finely chopped raw garlic and garnished with or without salted anchovies .

The dish takes its name from the verb ‘escalivar’, which means ‘to prepare over embers’. And that’s how it should be; placed the vegetables between glowing charcoals to make them pop. But as far as I’m concerned, you can also put them on top of the barbecue grill and roast them. As long as they turn black. If you don’t have a barbecue, it’s best to put them on the stove, on top of the pan support, and let them scorch in the flames. If that option also disappears, for example because you are cooking on induction, simply slide the vegetables into the oven. They will soon be a bit smoky, but I promise you that the result will be worth it.

Although it is also served as a side dish, I like escalivada best as an appetizer. And in the company of cracking fresh baguettes. There’s something hugely festive about the contrast between those plump, yielding vegetables and unruly, crusty bread. The anchovy is supposedly optional, but I can highly recommend it. In fact, for me personally, anchovy lust is sometimes even a reason to throw myself into escalivada.

Escalivada

(for 4-6 people)

3 – 4 yellow or white onions;
3 – 4 aubergines;
3 – 4 rode paprika’s;
good olive oil;
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped;
sea ​​salt flakes or fleur de sel;
optional: 3 anchovy fillets per person

make Turn on the barbecue on time, so that the coals glow nicely when you start preparing the vegetables. Place the (unpeeled) onions, aubergines and peppers between the coals and let them scorch on all sides. Or let them scorch on the grill. Or put them on the stove or on a baking tray in the oven. Turn the vegetables regularly so that the skin / skin turns black on all sides.

Leg Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film. Let them rest for 10 minutes. The steam that is created will loosen the skins and make them easier to peel. Remove the stem and the charred skin from the aubergines and shred the flesh – carefully, it’s scorching hot in there. Remove the skin from the onions and cut the flesh into strips. Remove the skin, stem and seeds from the peppers and tear the flesh into strips. (This is a messy job and you may be tempted to peel the veggies under a running tap, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this because you’ll wash away a lot of the flavor too.)

Leave cool the vegetables to room temperature. If you prepare them well in advance and keep them in the fridge, take them out 2 hours before serving. Refrigerator cold is not the optimal temperature for escalivada. Arrange the aubergines, peppers and onions on a large platter or on individual plates. In Catalonia this always happens sort by kind, so not everything mixed up. Drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic and salt. Top with anchovy fillets if desired. Serve with baguette.