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Perfumed Olive Oil and Grilled Vegetables

June 9, 2008

The best tip I learned recently was to perfume my olive oil. The Chef took great handfuls of garlic (about 6 heads, broken into cloves) and added them to a bottle of olive oil he had poured into a oven roasting pan. He then heated the oil with the garlic, added several big handfuls of fresh basil, thyme and rosemary STEMS, bringing carefully, and slowly, just below the boiling point. He removed the pan from the heat, poked the herbs in with the stems and garlic, and left it to infuse. An hour or two later he strained up the oil for using in the dishes. It had an extraordinary flavor and color, and added greatly to the dishes. The oil will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, covered. (I suspect longer, but have not had any LAST longer than a week yet!)

Grilled Vegetables

Serves 4

There is no limit to what sliced vegetables you can add.

1 red bell pepper
5 small new potatoes, washed but not peeled
2 onions
1/3 cup olive oil
1 (1-pound) bulb fennel (12 ounces after fronds are removed) or California anise
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fennel frond
Spray grill with nonstick spray and preheat.
Place the pepper on the hot grill until blackened all over. Remove and place in a plastic bag to steam off skin. When cool enough to handle, remove charred skin and seed them.
Add the new potatoes to the grill and cook, turning as necessary. Remove when nearly soft, approximately 20 minutes. Quarter the onions, toss in the olive oil, and place on the grill. Trim the base of the fennel to remove the discolored portion but leave the bulb attached at the base. Remove any tough outer layers. Cut off the fronds, reserving them. Cut the fennel in quarters, then each quarter in half, leaving a small section to the base attached to each piece. Toss in the oil and add to the grill. Drain the potatoes, toss in the oil, and add to the grill. Grill the vegetables until lightly charred all over. The inside of the onion and fennel should still be crisp.
In a bowl add the garlic and vinegar to the remaining oil. Add the pepper strips, potatoes, onions, fennel, and cheese and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper and the chopped fennel frond. Serve at room temperature or chilled. May be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.

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The best of traditional Southern cooking, as well as innovative, new cuisine.
This book will be a keepsake for anyone with Southern roots, and a practical book for those who like to cook! A winner of the 1994 James Beard Award.
Master index to all of Nathalie's cookbooks

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