This recipe makes wonderful use of all of summer’s bounty. It’s the perfect option for a backyard get-together when you can mingle around the grill. Because of all the different vegetables and the long cooking time, be prepared to replenish the coals every 20 or so minutes if you’re using charcoal. Use fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and marjoram, and serve with slices of grilled country bread.
2 globe eggplants, cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm.) thick, or 4-6 Asian eggplants, halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) olive oil
1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) chopped mixed fresh herbs, plus extra for garnish
4 cloves garlic, minced, plus 2 or 3 medium heads, 1/2 inch (12 mm.) of top trimmed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into wide strips
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into wide strips
4-6 mild green chiles, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 1/2 lb. (750 g.) asparagus, ends trimmed
2 red onions, quartered
6 green onions, including 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm.) of tender green tops
2 or 3 yellow squash, halved lengthwise or thickly sliced and flesh lightly scored
2 or 3 zucchini, halved lengthwise and flesh lightly scored, or 8-10 baby zucchini, left whole
4-6 ripe but firm small tomatoes, halved or left whole
1 cup (6 oz./185 g.) mixed oil-cured olives
Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let drain.
In a bowl, combine the oil, the 1/2 cup herbs, the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat grilling over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack.
Set the garlic heads on a piece of foil, and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the herbed oil and a few drops of vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and seal the foil tightly. Place the foil packet near the edge of the grill where the heat is less intense, and grill until the garlic is soft and caramelized, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, working in batches, arrange the eggplant, bell peppers, chiles, asparagus, red and green onions, squashes, zucchini and tomatoes on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your grill.
Brush the vegetables with the herbed oil and grill, turning often, until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes, depending on the type of vegetable. Move the vegetables to the edge of the grill where the heat is less intense, and grill until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the grilled vegetables to a platter and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with the olives. Serves 8-10.