Grilled Antipasto with Garlicky Bean Dip

Also known as Italian Frying peppers. Cubanelle peppers are large and blocky. They are light green in appearance and they mature red. The thin walls of this pepper make it an excellent choice for frying. This pepper is not hot.

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One 19-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp 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-lb eggplants, sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch thick
2 dozen anchovy fillets
2 dozen marinated bocconcini (about 3/4 lb)
2 large beefsteak tomatoes (1 lb each), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Grilled country bread, for serving


In a food processor, combine the beans with the garlic, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp 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 under tender, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the tomatoes to the platter. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewered bocconcini for 1 minutes, turning once, or just until beginning to melt. Transfer skewers to the platter. Serve the antipasto with the remaining white bean dip and the grilled bread.

The white bean dip can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Serves 6.

By Marcia Kiesel,