So what’s there not to love about this dish!
Make ahead starters.
And make ahead meals in general. I love them! Because I like to spend time with my guests when I’m throwing a dinner party. Instead of standing in the kitchen all the time, trying to cook dinner.
I’d rather stay at the dinner table and talk.
Hang on, I love cooking. No doubt about that if you look at my recipe website here! But I want to make sure that I’m also having a great evening too. And besides, another advantage of make ahead courses is that, if anything goes wrong, you still have time to work out a plan B.
Sure, that happens. Something burns, or won’t set.
Saves you a lot of nerve wracking moments too.
Zucchini Carpaccio with Grilled Eggplant
So this carpaccio is a great summer starter.
And also a vegetarian one too! Which also comes in handy sometimes when my guests don’t eat meat.
What really makes or breaks this dish is the crunch that the grilled zucchini and eggplant still have. I grilled both of them instead of boiling, pan frying or steaming. Grilling keeps all those lovely flavors inside as well.
Serve it cold, with a good sprinkle of good quality olive oil. Pine nuts, freshly ground black pepper and shaved parmesan cheese. Epic.
Well I can say everybody loved this starter.
Do you love the sound of this zucchini carpaccio?
Then you should definitely check out another similar vegetable salad with fresh mozzarella!
- 1 large fresh zucchini
- 1 large fresh eggplant
- a handful fresh basil
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 oz parmesan cheese (28 g), grated
- 2 tbsp capers in brine drained
- 1 tbsp pink peppercorns
- olive oil
- Rinse the eggplant and the zucchini. Clean and trim them both. Slice the zucchini finely. I used a mandoline slicer for this.
- Then place the sliced zucchini on a baking tray and sprinkle with a little olive oil Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
- Grill the zucchini under a hot grill for 5 to 6 minutes until nearly tender. Keep an eye on them. Don’t let the zucchini brown or burn. The slices should be nearly tender but still crunchy.
- While the zucchini is grilling, slice the eggplant finely as well. I used a sharp knife for this. Once the zucchini is ready, place the slices on a clean plate and let them cool down. In the meantime place the sliced eggplant on the same oven tray and sprinkle again with a little olive oil, pepper and salt.
- Grill the eggplant for another 5 to 6 minutes under the hot grill now.
- Then remove the slices and place them on top of the grilled zucchini to cool. Cover with cling film once the veg are cold and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. In the meantime start making the fresh basil pesto. Add the fresh basil to a clean blender. Keep a couple of basil leaves aside for garnish later on.
- Pulse the basil into a rough mixture. Now add a handful of grated parmesan cheese and half of the pine nuts. Season with a little pepper and salt.
- Pulse again. Now add 5 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Blend the pesto. It should be quite runny. Add extra olive oil, pepper or salt to taste if necessary.
- Remove the grilled eggplant and zucchini from the fridge and let it reach room temperature again. Divide it over plates in the pattern or style you want. Brush with the freshly made basil pesto.
- Garnish with the salted capers, pink pepper, chopped basil, the rest of the pine nuts and some shaved parmesan cheese. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and a tiny pinch of salt. Serve.