Grilled Vegetable Focaccia

For Oil:
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
For Vegetables:
1 red bell pepper
4 thin slices fennel, cut through the stem end
4 slices eggplant, cut crosswise
1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
12 asparagus spears, tough ends removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 fresh portobello mushroom, brushed clean
4 slices red (Spanish) onion
4 sandwich-sized focaccias
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups lightly packed inner yellow frisée leaves

For Oil: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, garlic cloves and 3 of the rosemary sprigs and heat until the oil is too hot to touch comfortably, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs. Add the remaining 2 rosemary sprigs to the oil and set aside.

For Vegetables: Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill using hardwood charcoal such as mesquite or hickory. While the coals are still glowing red, place the bell pepper on the grill rack and grill, turning as necessary, until charred on all sides. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, then, using your fingers or a small knife, peel off the charred skin. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs. Cut each half in half again. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the fennel, boil for 1 minute and drain. In a large bowl, toss together the fennel, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Drizzle on just enough of the rosemary oil to coat everything lightly and toss again. Brush the mushroom and the onion slices with some of the remaining rosemary oil.

When the coals have burned down to a gray ash, place all the vegetables on the grill rack and grill until they begin to appear translucent. Turn the vegetables as needed and move them around on the grill to prevent burning. The fennel and eggplant will take 3 minutes on each side; the mushroom 2-3 minutes on each side; the asparagus and zucchini about 2 minutes on each side.

To Assemble: Split the focaccias in half horizontally. Brush the cut sides lightly with the remaining rosemary oil and place, cut sides down, over the coals to toast lightly. Place the bottoms, cut sides up, on 4 plates. Divide the grilled vegetables evenly among the focaccia bottoms. Cut the mushroom into 4 slices and place a mushroom slice and a piece of roasted pepper atop each stack of vegetables. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar evenly over the tops, then cover with equal amounts of the frisée and finally the focaccia tops.

Serves 4



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