Hetty McKinnon’s new charred eggplant recipe is such a good blueprint for summery cooking: Grill a vegetable that’s in season, then, while it’s still warm, let it soak up something delicious. Repeat.
Here, the eggplant is sliced and browned in a grill pan until it’s nice and soft, then covered in a dressing made from herbs, garlic, chile flakes and the infused olive oil left after frying some salt-packed capers. When it’s time to eat, you top it with soft, runny burrata and those crisp fried capers.
For more marinated vegetables, take a look at this Ali Slagle recipe, which will be particularly delicious if you cook over charcoal and use a mix of whichever summer vegetables you have on hand. Okra and eggplant work particularly well on the grill, but zucchini, green beans, fennel and asparagus are also great, as are hardier lettuces like radicchio.
Grilled, marinated vegetables are such a joy this time of year, particularly if you make a bit more than you need! The next day, you can have the leftovers in pita bread, use them to start a grain bowl, or mix them with more herbs, fried bread and greens to build a substantial leafy salad.
Raw vegetables enjoy a soak, too. These marinated cherry tomatoes with olives and red wine vinegar — part of a very fast Caprese-like recipe from David Tanis — are wonderful spooned over slices of mozzarella, but they shouldn’t be limited to just that. They’d be so good on a slab of crisp, fried tofu, tossed with some tender white beans or piled on a thick piece of toast.
All three recipes are ideal for taking over to someone’s house for a potluck, or packing up for a picnic — they travel well and taste just as good warm, or at room temperature, as they do chilled.