Grilled Summer Vegetable Timbale with Goat Cheese and Basil

by Chef Michael Salmon
serves 4

2 beets
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
2 medium sized carrots
1 portabella mushroom
1 medium beefsteak tomato
12 spears asparagus (pencil size)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cherry tomatoes
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, for garnish

1. Boil the beets until fork tender. Remove skin and cool. Slice each into 4 slices.
2. Remove ends and slice both the zucchini and yellow squash into 8 equal slices on a slight bias. Peel carrots and cut into sticks 2 inches long and 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. Core the tomato
and slice into 4 equal slices. Clean the portabella mushroom and cut into 8 wedges. Cut the tough part (pale color) off the bottom of the asparagus spears and peel the lower half of the
spears, removing the tougher outside shell.
3. Blanch the carrot slices in boiling water for 2 minutes to partially cook them and cool them off in a bowl of ice water. Lay all of the vegetables out on a baking sheet (use one with
sides) and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn them over and coat the other side. Let sit for 15 minutes. Using either a stove top grill pan or a barbecue grill, grill the vegetables (reserving the marinating oil and juices) on each side, just enough to mark them and cook them slightly. The tomatoes cook very quickly. Do not overcook any of the vegetables. Remove from the grill to another baking sheet.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the chopped basil with the balsamic vinegar. Place in a small container with a lid. In a 1/4-cup measurer, pour in the reserved oil and juices, and fill the
remaining way with additional olive oil. Add to the container a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of salt. Cover and shake gently.

For assembly and presentation, place a 3-inch timbale mold (I use a 3-inch piece of PVC pipe that has a 3-inch inside diameter) on the center of a 12-inch dinner plate. Layer in the
vegetables in this order: 1 tomato slice, 2 zucchini slices, 2 beet slices, 2 yellow squash slices, 6 carrot sticks, and 2 mushroom wedges. Build each layer securely on top of each other and press down gently on the vegetables to firm up the stack. Remove the mold form. Decorate the plate with the 3 asparagus spears, 3 cherry tomato halves, and a sprig of fresh basil. Slice the goat cheese and arrange around the plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette and chopped basil. Serve.

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