Whilst in Italy I enjoyed a myriad of grilled vegetables, usually accompanied by sheets of soft pecorino and a light drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. I found myself never tiring of this simple snack, though oftentimes I made it into a most satisfying meal.
It is only fitting that I bring the inspiration Stateside with my own variation of antipasto di verdure. Yellow fleshed, Alabama peaches nestled among lightly charred summer squash, salty manchego cheese, fronds of mint and tarragon are all brought together with a generous drizzle of white truffle oil. Summer's bounty at its finest.
The combinations of this dish are endless. You can use an array of different grilled vegetables and even an assortment of cheeses such as pecorino or parmesan. I personally favor manchego, it is softer and slightly less salty than many other sheep cheeses sold here in the States.
One ingredient, however, is non-negotiable. Truffle oil, a delicate ode to that of the truffle mushroom, is the piéce de résistance of this dish. Now, I understand that the best way to enjoy the flavor of truffles is to use an actual truffle, these are extremely rare and expensive so the oil is the next best thing (in my opinion). I urge you to find a high quality truffle oil, they cost more but the flavor is true. White or black truffle oil will suffice, but I implore you not to omit it from this fine féte of flavors. You will not be disappointed!
Grilled Summer Squash & Peach Salad with Manchego & White Truffle (serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish)
- 4 small to medium zucchini, ends trimmed
- 4 small to medium yellow squash, ends trimmed
- 3 peaches, cut lengthwise in half, pit removed
- 1 TBS chopped mint
- 1 TBS chopped tarragon (or basil)
- 1/2 cup shaved manchego cheese, ( I found using a vegetable peeler works best)
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 TBS pure white truffle oil (more may be used according to taste)
- salt and pepper
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium/high heat.
Carefully slice the summer squash into thin strips and lay flat on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and peach halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the grill is ready carefully add the vegetables and fruit ( I had to do this in about three batches). Grill each side for 2-3 minutes or until each side is slightly charred and softened.
Place grilled vegetables and peaches on a platter (I cut the peaches into wedges but you can leave them whole if you desire). Sprinkle with herbs and cheese. Drizzle with truffle oil and enjoy!