This concession, which I introduced at last year’s first Olives Olé, featured an array of fresh vegetables seasoned, grilled and doused with lemon juice and olive oil. We used freshly baked pita bread from Ali Baba International Market’s bakery. Feta cheese topped off the sandwiches. Also, you might include kalamata or your favorite olives as garnish.
Grilled Veggie Pitas With Feta Cheese
6-8 pieces pita bread, warmed
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, trimmed and sliced in about 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into medium dice
1/2 orange, yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into medium dice
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium crookneck squash, sliced
10-12 mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
6-8 green onions, trimmed, with about 4 inches of green left on
2 lemons, cut in half
Vegetable seasoning blend of your choice, or just salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Kalamata or other olives, optional garnish
Additional feta cheese, olive oil, and lemon wedges to pass
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Wrap the pita in foil and warm in the oven while vegetables are cooking.
Warm 3 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan or on a flat-top grill or griddle. When medium-hot, add the eggplant, fennel, and onion, and sauté, turning gently once or twice (you want the veggies to pick up a fresh-roasted, grilled color and be tender, but not mushy, at the end). When the eggplant and fennel are about half done (2 minutes or so), add the rest of the vegetables, and as much of the rest of the olive oil as needed. You may wish to sauté the vegetables in batches if you don’t have a large flat-top grill. As the vegetables are cooking, season lightly with your favorite seasoning that includes salt. (See note.)
When vegetables are lightly browned, tender, and well seasoned, squeeze the juice from one of the lemons evenly over all. Place one warm pita bread on each plate and fill with vegetables, taking care to include a little of each one. (We didn’t split the pita breads — they were fresh and pliable so we just topped them and folded them over.) Sprinkle about one tablespoon of feta cheese on each. Pass more lemon, feta, and olive oil for people to add as they wish.
Note: Experiment with purchased seasoned salts, such as garlic and onion salt or vegetable-flavored salt. Create your own fresh herb and salt mixes, such as dilled salt, but use fresh rosemary sparingly.
Makes 6-8 servings.
From Bonnie Walker
Photo by Tracey Maurer Photography
Styling by Bonnie Walker, June Hayes and Tracey Maurer