About this recipe:Grilled Mediterranean vegetables, combined with plump olives and a chilli, garlic and lemon dressing, make an exciting topping for ready-made polenta. Arrange on a wide platter for maximum table-top impact.
1 large aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
200g shallots, halved but not peeled
1 red chilli, halved lengthways and deseeded
1 garlic clove
500g ready-made polenta, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
75g stoned black olives
50g Parmesan or Italian-style hard cheese
TO GARNISH fresh basil leaves
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Method Prep:10min › Cook:30min › Ready in:40min
Heat a grill until it is very hot. Brush the aubergine slices on both sides using 1 tbsp of the oil and lay side by side on a baking sheet. Add the peppers, skin-side up, and the shallots, skin-side down. Grill for about 15 minutes, turning the aubergines over halfway through, until the pepper and shallot skins are blackened all over. Set aside on a board or plate until cool enough to handle.
Arrange the chilli, cut-side down, unpeeled garlic and polenta slices on the baking sheet. Brush the polenta on both sides with 1 tbsp of the oil. Grill for about 6 minutes, then remove the chilli and garlic and turn the polenta. Grill for a further 6–8 minutes until the polenta is golden brown.
Scrape the flesh from the chilli and garlic, mash and mix with the remaining oil and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Peel the skins from the peppers and slice the flesh. Peel the shallots. Arrange the polenta slices around a wide platter. Pile the peppers, shallots, aubergines and olives in the centre and spoon over the chilli dressing.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of Parmesan over the vegetables and scatter with basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
*Slices of ciabatta bread could replace the polenta. Brush with oil and grill until golden, turning once. *If fresh chillies are not available, add ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies to the dressing instead.