Serving creative vegetable side dishes with your BBQ can be a drag. Vegetable skewers and corn on the cob are very tasty, but also quite drab. To get on top of healthy BBQ again, here’s a fancy and creative side dish that not only tastes good, but will also have your guests go ‘Wow: how did you do that?’
2 Eggplants (Aubergines)
3 Bell peppers
2 large onions (pref. red)
Salt and Pepper
You will need two oven-dishes of approx. 28 x 18 x 4cm (11" x 7" x 2") or a similar dish and a board that fits neatly in there. We got some pressing to do, later.
First, slice your eggplants in approx. 1,5cm (1/2”) thick slices. Don’t go much thinner or you’ll risk breaking them on the grill. Because of the high water content of the eggplant, we need to get some of that out via a process called 'degorging'. This will not only draw out most of the water but also make them more firm when cooked and boost the flavor.
Put them on a tray and sprinkle them liberally with coarse sea salt. Leave to rest.
After 20-30 minutes, little puddles of water will have appeared on the aubergines. Turn and repeat the process on the other side.
When both sides are done, rinse thoroughly to remove the salt. Quickly pat the eggplants dry with a clean towel or kitchen paper.Prepare some garlic oil by pressing two cloves of garlic into 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Slice all your other veggies into slices of similar thickness. You can use any kind of firm vegetable you like: carrots, fennel or even potatoes. Anything that will hold its shape and will not go mushy on the grill.
Brush all the vegetables with a little oil, season with salt and pepper and cook on both sides on a hot charcoal grill.
Leave to cool on a tray.
Now, I did not, but you should: cover the bottom of your oven-dish with clingfilm.
Shred some sprigs of rosemary and lay them in the bottom, then add the grilled vegetables in layers, putting a little rosemary, some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of the garlic oil between the layers.
Start with the zucchini and finish with the eggplant.
When done, cover again with clingfilm and put the second oven-dish or board on top, so it covers the entire dish.
Weigh down with whatever you have available in your kitchen and put the 'lasagna' in a cool place for 2-3 hours.
Carefully remove the clingfilm. There might be some juices collected in the dish. Make sure you drain those off first.
Turn out onto a platter and serve in thin slices.
You can serve your lasagna cold or carefully reheated for a few minutes on a low BBQ.
And there you have it: a wonderfully tasty and fancy vegetable side dish for your next BBQ feast!