APTIPASTO DELLA VERDURA COTTA When this dish is on your table, you'll think you are in Italy. Also great as a side dish. MAGIC??? Everyone has heard of this but there really is 'no magic'. Many major Chef's use magic for grilling and some even have their own private labeled on your grocers shelf, which I'm sure you've seen. After you read the ingredients, you can be creative with the spices you think will go well with what you are grilling. E.g. fish, pork chicken, veggies, etc. Start with 1/3 each: sugar, Kosher salt, granulated or granulated garlic. Now add some pepper and any other spice you have on your spice rack that you like or think would go well with what you are cooking. E.g. nutmeg, onion powder, sage. thyme, chili powder, whatever. Use generously.


  • 3-5 roasted peppers, cut into thin strips. If available, mix colors; red, green, yellow and orange.
  • 2-4 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Parsley, chopped fresh
  • 1-2 Large onions, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch round slices.
  • 2-4 small Italian style eggplants, cut off stems and then each lengthwise into 6 pieces. Heavily salt,
  • then lay flat on some paper towel and put a heavy plate or pan on top for 1/2 hour to drain.
  • 2 Zucchini sliced in spears
  • Some Balsamic vinegar
  • small handful of chopped fresh flat parsley
  • small handful of chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Magic
  • Some good extra virgin olive oil


Fire up the grill, baste eggplant, zucchini and onions with oil, place on hot heat and sprinkle with magic. Do both sides until al dente. They Should just starting to wilt and grilled scored. Remove and set aside in a serving as to reserve any juices and let cool down. Add the roasted peppers, garlic, parsley, basil and S&P to taste. Toss with a splash of Balsamic and a good amount of olive oil.
The only real taste you can give it is to dunk a chunk of Italian bread in the juices. Adjust as required and spread out in a large serving platter to serve at any temp but room is best.

There are several ways you can roast peppers; on the grill, under the boiler or over an open flame. When we were young, my family had a gas stove that was called a gas on gas; we cooked on it and it also heated the house. My Mother would light all 4 burners, put a pepper on each one and roast them until they burnt on the outside. As we stepped up in life and had a real furnace that burnt coal; My Father would go into the basement and roast them over the hot coals. I realize today, it wasn't the safest thing to, but that's all we had. So I suggest you use the grill or broiler.

Roast the peppers until just about black all over, turning as required, and place them in a covered pot. Most people put them in a paper bag so I will give you my pot reason later. When they are all cooked and cool enough to handle, start peeling them. Put the pan next to the sink an break open the peppers over the pan to retain any juices. Peel the them in the sink and you can get some of the little straggly pieces of burnt skin off with a low stream of cold water but don't drown them. Remove the seeds and any mushy ribs. Set them aside in a bowl until they are all done. Drain most of the excess juice off into the pan then slice them into strips. Return them back to the bowl and add chopped garlic, S&P and the good olive oil, all to taste. Now that wasn't so hard.

Take all the juices from the pan and freeze it. In the winter time when the peppers are expensive or you don't have the time to roast them or are just too lazy, buy them. I like Mancini but most of them are good. Replace some of the their juice with some of what you have frozen and let set for a few hours. Your guests will think you just made them. Forget the paper bag thing.

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Submitted 6/5/05.