Emeril’s Marinated Vegetables

A great thing about telling people that I’m vegetarian is that they then like to tell me about their favorite vegetarian dishes.  A coworker gave me this recipe several years ago, and it’s always a hit.  The original recipe is by Emeril Lagasse and can be found at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/marinated-vegetables-recipe/index.html.  It’s delicious and very simple to make.  My version has taken quite a few turns from the original, so I’m going to share with you what I like to do.

8-10 small red potatoes, quartered, boiled fork tender then bathed in cold water to stop the cooking

1/2 pound baby carrots, blanched*

1 head of broccoli, florets only, blanched (save the stems for another meal)

1/2 bunch of asparagus, blanched

6 oz. haricots verts, blanched (regular green beans are also fine, frozen or fresh)

6 oz. sugar snap peas, blanched (frozen or fresh)

4-6 oz. artichoke hearts, quartered

1/2 medium red onion, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 c. Kalamata olives, pits removed

1/2 pound fresh Mozzarella (I like to use the small balls – boccaccini)

1/4 c. chiffonade of basil**

1 c. olive oil

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1 T. minced garlic

salt and pepper

* If you happen to be unfamiliar with blanching, this is just a process of boiling vegetables briefly, then transferring them to cold water to stop the cooking process.  This preserves the vegetables’ color, texture, and flavor, and it’s a good method to use for a recipe like this which is served at room temperature.

** I like to stack 10-15 large basil leaves, roll them from tip to stem, then slice through the roll with a sharp knife.  You end up with nice strips of basil leaves that are not crushed.

Place all the vegetables in a large bowl or sealable container (I have a nice clear Pyrex bowl with a lid that is perfect for this).  Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and basil and pour over the vegetables.  Gently mix it together so that all the veggies are coated.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, tumbling the veggies from time to time to re-coat them with the oil.  Add the cheese in shortly before serving.

This recipe makes a large amount, and it’s best at room temperature, which makes it a perfect side dish to take to parties or potlucks.  It can also be served as an appetizer with a baguette or some nice crusty Italian bread.  It’s a tasty and colorful addition to the dinner table that people will absolutely love!

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