Saturday, May 14, 2016


I thought grilled asparagus had gone out of style, but there it was on the menu at a restaurant where we had lunch on the way to Ronda. Fat, green and juicy, that asparagus was so delicious that I’ve been on a vegetable-grilling kick ever since.

A mixed grill of all vegetables.

It was in La Mancha, a few years back, that I first had a mixed-grill of vegetables served as a starter. Not just asparagus, but sliced eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions as well, cooked on a plancha, grill pan, or on a parrilla, over coals. Sometimes it was served with sliced serrano ham or salchichón, a dry-cured sausage similar to salami. Sometimes it came with alioli, garlic mayonnaise.

Serve the grilled vegetables as a starter.

A springtime treat! Asparagus grilled on a plancha.

Pan-Grilled Vegetables
Verduras a la Parrilla

Some of the vegetables suitable for pan grilling.

This assortment of pan-grilled vegetables makes a good starter, in place of a salad. Sliced, the grilled vegetables make a great stuffing for a bocadillo (sandwich on a crusty roll), pita or tortilla wraps.

Use a plancha grill pan or---

Use a ridged grill pan, a flat griddle (plancha) or a cast-iron skillet. Cooking time will vary for each vegetable, depending on thickness, but all should cook in 10 minutes or less. Grill the eggplant very tender, but allow asparagus and onion to stay somewhat crisp.

The vegetables, hot or room temperature, are delicious with nothing more elaborate than extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. However, if you like, serve them with alioli, garlic mayonnaise (recipe below).

---a cast-iron skillet.

Serves 4.

1 medium eggplant (about ¾ pound)
1 medium zucchini (about ¾ pound)
Coarse salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper
8 asparagus spears
1 onion
4 mushrooms, such as portabella, oyster, or porcini
2 firm plum tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves unpeeled garlic
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Parsley or basil sprigs to garnish
Lemon wedges, to serve

Peel the eggplant and cut off the stem end. Cut lengthwise into ¾-inch thick slices. Place in a shallow pan. Trim ends of zucchini and slice it lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Place in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle eggplant and zucchini on both sides with salt. Let them stand 1 hour. Drain the eggplant and zucchini in a colander 15 minutes. Pat dry.

Wipe out the shallow pan. Spread the eggplant and zucchini slices in it. Brush them on both sides with oil. 

To peel or not to peel?
Cut the pepper into quarters, discarding stem and seeds. Use a vegetable peeler to shave outer skins from asparagus. (I tried asparagus both ways--actually prefer unpeeled, although they need a little longer on the grill.)

Cut onion in quarters. Spread pepper, asparagus, onion, mushrooms, tomato, and garlic in another shallow pan and brush them with oil.

Brush a ridged grill pan, flat griddle or cast-iron skillet with oil and heat very hot. Cook each of the vegetables until tender, turning slices with tongs to grill both sides. Eggplant will need about 8-10 minutes; zucchini, 6; asparagus, 8; onion, 5; mushrooms, 8; tomato, 3.

Arrange slices of each vegetable on 4 plates. Sprinkle with coarse salt and drizzle 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over each serving. Garnish with parsley or basil. Serve warm or room temperature.

Slice the grilled vegetables and layer them in a sandwich or wrap in a tortilla.

It's a wrap! Yummy.

Alioli with Smoked Pimentón

Garlic mayonnaise with a touch of smoked pimentón--good with all vegetables.

You can use the grilled garlic and a piece of grilled red pepper in this sauce. Use

¾ cup mayonnaise
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon smoked pimentón
Pinch of hot pimentón or cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Combine the mayonnaise and garlic in a blender. Add the oil, pimentón, hot pimentón, cumin and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Stir in the parsley. Add salt to taste.

Pan grilling adds so much flavor to vegetables.


  1. Enjoyed this, Janet. I have been grilling veges for years. In 2 weeks I am having 6 of my new friends here in New Mexico for dinner and plan to serve grilled veges with Copper River salmon flown in from Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market. None of them have ever had this kind of salmon, which is THE BEST!! (Yes, I'm spoiled) I will also serve rice pilaf, a salad, for dessert a caramel tres leches cake and, of course, Spanish wine. Wish you could join us...Patty

    1. Patty: Thanks! Your menu sounds lovely, with Copper River salmon flown in for the occasion. Wow!