I had both my boys home for dinner the other day and I always like to make a bit of a fuss when we are all together. I had an abundance of Mediterranean vegetables in the fridge (fennel, zucchini, red & yellow capsicum) that I thought would pair really well with an old recipe of mine, Em’s Style Albondigas, otherwise known as Spanish Meatballs (link below). So I set about creating an epic salad.

I am an absolute fan of chargrilling vegetables as it really brings them to life and accentuates their natural sweetness. I say ‘Mediterranean vegetables’ as they literally transport me to this time last year when we were cruising around the Greek Islands and indulging in just this kind of dish. Grilled vegetables with really good olive oil, loads of lemon and fresh gutsy herbs.

Some may think I over complicate what is already outstanding but I just love to even out a dish with texture and flavour. Hence the addition of toasted pine nuts for crunch and creamy Goat’s Fetta for flavour. This could be a meal all on its own or paired simply with grilled chicken, lamb, beef, pork or seafood.

What an absolute winner and I was so thrilled there were leftovers that I quickly put first dibs on them. I threatened all family members with a fate worse than death if they so much as looked at the leftovers and I am so pleased to say that they were just as delicious the next day.

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 6 as a side

3 small zucchinis, sliced about 1/2 cm thick lengthways

1 medium fennel bulb, halved and then sliced 1/2cm thick lengthways

1 red and 1 yellow capsicum, cut into varying, random chunks and seeds discarded

1 red onion, cut into 1/2 cm rounds

1 cup of Italian parsley leaves

1/2 a cup of dill sprigs (woody stalks removed and little branches plucked)

100gm of Goat’s Fetta, crumbled

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts

1 tsp of chilli flakes

Sea salt and pepper

1/4 cup of good quality, cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice of 1 lemon

To prepare the Mediterranean vegetables, heat a griddle pan or BBQ to smoking hot. Don’t oil them first, the best way to get those delicious chargrilled lines are to allow the natural sugars in the vegetables to caramelise and even burn slightly. I did mine in a griddle pan, so it required cooking in batches, which took a little more time but just cook them randomly, in no particular order and once each batch is cooked, arrange them on a platter, pulling the charred onions apart. (look at the photo for arrangement inspiration)

Once all of the vegetables are done, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes and then sprinkle over the herbs, Goat’s fetta, pine nuts and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the olive oil and lemon juice just before serving.