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Roast Something Other Than Yourself by Making Escalivada

Be kind to yourself, but for God’s sake char those vegetables.

Photos: Jeff Marini

The word “escalivada” comes from the Catalan verb escalivar, meaning “to roast food close to coals,” and you’ll need both an oven and a grill to make this dish, a brilliantly tweaked version of a classic Spanish tapas dip from Boqueria’s executive chef, Marc Vidal. “The trick is to burn the vegetables until they’re very soft and you don’t see any of their original color outside, just black,” Vidal says. That’s how you know they’re cooked through and nice and smoky.

Marc Vidal’s Escalivada

Makes:8 appetizer servings
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:2 hours

1 Medium Spanish onion, skin on
2 Large red bell peppers
2 Medium eggplants
4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
2 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
  Salt, for finishing
1 cup Full-fat Greek yogurt or labneh
2 Tbsp. Each of roughly chopped fresh basil, dill, mint, and parsley
  Pita, for serving

 

Cooking veggies

Heat the grill to high; heat the oven to 450 degrees. Roast onion on a foil-lined shallow baking pan until burnt outside and collapsed, approximately 1 hour. Remove, and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, grill the peppers and eggplants, turning every 4 minutes, until completely charred, 8 to 15 minutes for the peppers and 15 to 20 minutes for the eggplants.

 

Red bell peppers

Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer eggplants to a plate and let stand until cool enough to handle. Discard burnt layers of onion, and cut into ½-inch pieces.

Rub skin off peppers, then tear in half, discard stems, seeds, and ribs, and cut into ½-inch pieces. Remove stems from eggplants, peel, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

 

Finished escalivada

Put all vegetables in a bowl, and add oil and vinegar. Gently toss until well incorporated. Season with salt and additional vinegar to taste. Spread yogurt on a serving plate and top with vegetables and herbs.

Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil. Serve with warm pita.

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