‘Escalivada’ comes from a Catalan word meaning ‘to roast over embers’. It is traditionally served as a first course or a side dish with barbecued or roasted meats. This oven-roasted version is a quick, easy alternative if you don’t have a charcoal grill.
1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
1 yellow capsicum (bell pepper)
2 ripe tomatoes
2 red onions
1 eggplant (aubergine), about 400 g (14 oz)
4 baby leeks or thick spring onions (scallions), fleshy white part only
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 head garlic
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Put the whole red and yellow capsicums, tomatoes, onions, eggplant and the head of garlic (from the garlic dressing) on a baking tray. Do not peel, core or cut any of the vegetables. Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes.
Add the leeks or spring onions to the tray and bake for a further 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are very soft and slightly blackened. Remove from the oven.
When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel the capsicums, removing the seeds, and cut into long strips. Peel and seed the tomatoes, and cut into wedges. Peel the onions and cut into wedges. Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skin with a large spoon, and cut the flesh into long strips. Peel the outer layer from the leeks or spring onions. Reserve any juices from the tray. Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter.
To make the dressing, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the garlic head crosswise at the widest point. Squeeze the garlic flesh into a small bowl, add the olive oil and some of the reserved vegetable juices, as desired, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drizzle the dressing over the roasted vegetables, sprinkle with the thyme and serve warm.
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