Summer Vegetable Packs with Toasted Pecan Butter

recipe
If I want to steam summer vegetables together, I bundle them in banana leaves, which impart a gentle aroma, and throw them on the grill for a few minutes. You can substitute 12-inch squares of foil for the leaves; just fold them around the vegetables to form neat packages. Crimp the sides to seal and make handles.

Yield:

MAKES 6 PACKS

Recipe from


Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Salt
2 zucchini (about 4 ounces each), sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 12 wedges
1 yellow squash (about 4 ounces), sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound thin wax beans or green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup corn kernels
6 ounces Swiss chard, stalks discarded, leaves cut into wide ribbons (about 2 packed cups)
Six 2-by-1-foot pieces of frozen banana leaf, thawed (see Note)
12 bacon slices, cut in half crosswise
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for the grill

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate, let cool completely, then chop. In a bowl, mix the pecans with the butter. Season generously with salt.

2. Light a grill. In a large bowl, gently toss the vegetables. Spread the banana leaves on a work surface. Lay 4 pieces of bacon side by side in the center of the bottom half of each leaf. Spread the vegetables over the bacon and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the top half of each leaf over the vegetables, then tuck the sides underneath to seal. Tie the packs with kitchen string to secure.

3. Lightly brush the grate with vegetable oil. Grill the packs, bacon side down, over a medium-hot fire until you hear the juices bubble steadily, about 15 minutes. Transfer the packs to plates. Untie the packs, top the vegetables with the toasted pecan butter and serve.

Make Ahead: The pecan butter can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for 1 week. The assembled vegetable packs can be refrigerated overnight.

Notes: Whole banana leaves are available frozen at Latin markets and can be cut to the desired size. Wipe with a damp cloth before using.

Note:

Marcia Kiesel,

August 2001
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