Italian-style Grilled Vegetables

Italian-style Grilled Vegetables


Previously, I had only ever thought of grilling courgettes, but thanks to Manuela (a professional cook who was recently staying with us), I have learned a whole lot more about how to grill vegetables and the flavourings and flavours that can go with them. We have experimented with vegetables such as butternut squashes and aubergines, things that I would never thought of grilling before. The secret is to thinly slice the vegetables lengthways and then sear in the flavour with a griddle pan before adding flavours such as garlic, chilli, lemon or vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

This page includes recipes for three grilled vegetable dishes: aubergine, courgette and butternut squash.

It has sparked a whole new interest in grilling things, and in the future I want to experiment not just with other vegetables but also seafood and shellfish. In preparation, we have resurrected an old griddle pan which had gone completely rusty. Here it is after the restoration work:

For all of the three recipes, you need to thinly slice the vegetables lengthways. It is then important to get the griddle pan really hot before adding the sliced vegetables. Cook for 3 minutes before turning. Then turn again, rotating through 90º so that the grilled lines cross and then flip and cook for another 3 minutes (12 minutes in total).

Once the sliced vegetables have cooked, transfer them to a flat serving dish and sprinkle with salt.

Here are some suggestions for how to dress the vegetables:

You can make up some chilli-garlic olive oil in a small container: add a couple of cloves of garlic, some sliced chilli and olive oil and blend well with a stick blender. Brush the sliced vegetable with the oil mixture and keep it in the fridge until you next need it.

PUMPKIN: finely chop some garlic cloves and parsley and sprinkle over the vegetables. Mix together some balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar and olive oil and dress the vegetables.

AUBERGINE: finely chop some garlic cloves, chilli and oregano or mint and sprinkle over the vegetables. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

COURGETTES: finely chop some garlic cloves and sprinkle over the vegetables. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice.

Tuna and Egg Empanada Gallega

Tuna and Egg Empanada

Empanada is a Spanish pie which is typical of Galicia in the north of Spanish and is also called Empanada Gallega. The empanada is traditionally filled with meat, tuna, vegetables, and seafood or shellfish and usually is served cold. It is a great way to feed lots of people and also good for picnics.

You can make the pastry from scratch or you can buy a packet of pre-prepared dough which has already been rolled out.

It’s also a great recipe to prepare in the wood-fired bread oven after you have cooked pizzas for lunch and the oven has been left to cool down a bit. If you prepare some larger amounts of the pizza toppings (e.g. onion, green pepper, red pepper), then you already have your vegetables prepared for when you are going to cook it later.

Tuna and Egg Empanada Gallega
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, finely chopped
  2. 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  3. 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  4. 240g tinned tuna
  5. 4 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  6. 1 egg, beaten
  7. 200ml tomato sauce
  8. extra virgin olive oil
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion, green pepper and red pepper until soft.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and continuing frying until the mixture is quite dry.
  3. Flake in the tuna and the hard-boiled eggs and stir well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Leave to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, unwrap the pastry and place the greasproof paper on a large baking tray.
  7. Place one of sheets of pastry on top of the paper.
  8. Spread out the filling to within an inch of the edges.
  9. Put the other sheet of pastry on top, matching up the edges.
  10. Using your fingers, create a rope-like effect by rolling over the edges.
  11. Brush the top with the beaten egg.
  12. Bake in a 180ºC oven for 4 minutes until the top is golden.
  13. Leave to cool before serving.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY CRUMBLErhubarb and strawberry crumbleWe’ve now got a fair amount of rhubarb and so we decided to do something with it and make a crumble. In the end, we made two: the first with rhubarb and strawberries in an electric oven and the second with rhubarb and apples in the bread oven.

The crumble can be prepared in advance and then cooked before serving but it is a good idea to only add the crumble topping to the fruit just before baking to stop it going soggy.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 600g of rhubarb
  2. 400g strawberries
  3. 50g brown sugar
  4. 140g plain flour
  5. 100g oats
  6. 120g brown sugar
  7. 120g butter (at room temperature), cut into pieces
Instructions
  1. Cut the rhubarb and into small chunks and the strawberries to a similar size.
  2. Heat the rhubarb pieces in a pan with a splash of water and 50g of sugar for 3-5 minutes and then add the strawberries.
  3. Cook until soft.
  4. Taste the juice and add more sugar if necessary.
  5. Separate the fruit from the syrup.
  6. To make the crumble for the topping, mix together the flour, oats, sugar and butter together with your fingers to make crumbs.
  7. Transfer the fruit to a baking tin with a few tablespoons of the syrup and top with the crumble mixture.
  8. Cook in a hot oven (200ºC) for 30 minutes. You can always finish it off under the grill to brown the top if necessary.
Variation
  1. Substitute cooking apples for the strawberries and cook at the same time as the rhubarb, adding more sugar if necessary.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Curried peanut, corn and rice salad

Finally, I have got round to including this recipe on the blog. It is surprisingly simple to make but amazingly tasty. It was something I invented a couple of years ago and it makes the perfect accompaniment for barbecues, etc.

Curried peanut, corn and rice salad
A simple to make and tasty salad with rice, corn and peanuts
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups long grain rice, cooked, washed and drained
  2. 2-3 heaped teaspoons curry powder
  3. 4-5 heaped desssert spoons mayonnaise
  4. 250g salted peanuts
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and season to taste.
  2. Serve.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/

Vegan Kale and Chickpea Curry

Winter at the Cortijo: Vegan food for the olive harvest

At certain times of the year when there’s not much growing except kale and cabbage, it’s good to have some different recipes for what to do with kale.

For a good part of the year, we have volunteers coming to stay with us to help us with the farm and most of them come through Workaway. Our first ever workawayer was Tiffany from New Zealand. This recipe for a vegan kale and chickpea curry popped up on her Facebook feed the other day – I think it was posted by her mum.

The original recipe is taken from the Cooking Light website with a few modifications: as I was cooking for 6 people, and we’ve got masses of kale, I used a large bowl of chopped kale (almost an entire colander), more chickpeas and different spices.

Vegan Kale and Chickpea Curry
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large bowl of chopped kale
  2. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  4. 2 x 400g jars cooked chickpeas
  5. 1 can coconut milk
  6. 3 heaped tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  7. 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  8. 2 teaspoons curry powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon chill powder
  10. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  11. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  13. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  14. 1 lemon, juiced
  15. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions until soft.
  2. Add the red pepper and continue to fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the garlic and ginger.
  3. Sprinkle over the spices and heat for another 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add in the kale and mix well.
  5. Cover the pan and let the kale wilt down.
  6. Stir in the peanut butter.
  7. Add the chickpeas and coconut milk and heat to a gentle simmer.
  8. Cover and leave for about 15 minutes.
  9. Squeeze over the lemon juice.
Notes
  1. Serve with brown basmati rice.
Cortijo de la Plata https://cortijoblog.com/