When I grill vegetables, I like to add unexpected accompaniments, like grilled marinated mini mozzarella balls (called bocconcini) wrapped in anchovy fillets, and garlicky white bean dip. Served with grilled country bread, this antipasto becomes a light main course. The bocconcini should be eaten hot off the grill, while still soft enough to spread on the bread. To prevent sticking, lightly oil the grate before grilling the bocconcini.
One 19-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 small Italian frying peppers or Cubanelle peppers
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
Two 1-pound eggplants, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
2 dozen anchovy fillets
2 dozen marinated bocconcini (about 3/4 pound)
2 large beefsteak tomatoes (1 pound each), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Grilled country bread, for serving
How to Make It
In a food processor, combine the beans with the garlic, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth, then scrape into a bowl. Fold in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
Light a grill. Brush the peppers and the zucchini and eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap an anchovy fillet around each of the bocconcini and thread the balls onto six 8-inch skewers.
Grill the peppers and the sliced zucchini and eggplants over a medium-hot fire until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side for the zucchini and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and eggplant. Transfer to a large platter and spread the bean dip on the zucchini and eggplant slices.
Lightly brush the tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the tomatoes to the platter. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewered bocconcini for 1 minute, turning once, or just until beginning to melt; transfer the skewers to the platter. Serve the antipasto with the remaining white bean dip and the grilled bread.
Make Ahead: The white bean dip can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
Wine Recommendation: A food-friendly Sauvignon Blanc with herbal overtones and bold acidity will accent the grilled eggplant and garlic and balance the salty anchovies in this dish. Look for an Italian bottling, such as the 2000 Borgo Conventi or 2000 Livio Felluga.