Greenmarket plate with green olive tapenade

With the sun out and the temperatures pleasant, I’m currently out in my yard grilling whenever I can! The greenmarkets in New York City right now are absolutely brimming with colour and energy. Last week at Union Square Greenmaket, sugar snap peas, asparagus, spring onions, garlic scapes, radishes and zucchini were piled high and proud.

With Spring produce in full bloom, I have a new favourite sharing dish – a Greenmarket Plate. With this dish, your job is to choose the brightest, most colourful vegetables of the season from your local greenmarket or grocer. Of course, the vegetables will vary from season to season, and that is completely the idea of this recipe. Be guided by availability. Let the vegetables shine by giving them a very light barbecue and allow them to retain some crunch. In the Winter, it may be easier to oven grill or roast. Ideally, cook some of the veg and leave others raw to mix up the textures. Bring it all together with a smashing sauce. Here, I have whizzed together a green olive tapenade. But also consider other types of sauces – you could use sriracha mayonnaise, pesto, herb oil, romesco sauce, or even whipped feta (like I did the other day – YUM!)

 

Greenmarket plate, with green olive tapenade

This is a true seasonal dish. The plated ingredients I’ve listed are suggestions only – I encourage you to use whatever vegetables are in season, wherever you are in the world. Since it is spring in New York, I visited Union Square Greenmarket and picked out my favourite seasonal greens. You could also use capsicum, sugar snap peas, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and more.

Serves 4-6

  • 500g baby potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 500g baby round eggplant, halved
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody stem removed
  • 150g shishito peppers
  • 4 purple spring onions, trimmed
  • 3 zucchini, cut into 5mm slices
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch breakfast radish, trimmed and larger ones halved
  • 2 cups salad leaves (lettuce, arugula/rocket, spinach etc)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Green olive tapenade

  • 500g green olives (whichever variety you like), pitted
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper

To make the tapenade, roughly chop the olives and capers and place in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, parsley and lemon zest. Drizzle in olive oil and squeeze in lemon juice. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Tapenade can be made 1 week ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.

Heat a barbecue, grill or frypan until hot. Add the baby eggplant and barbecue on each side until charred and tender. Set aside. Add the asparagus spears, and barbecue for just 1-2 minutes, until just tender but still bright green and with crunch. Set aside. Next, do the same with the shishito peppers and spring onions. Grill the zucchini slices until golden on both sides and season everything with some sea salt and black pepper.

Take a large platter and arrange the leaves all over it. Arrange the radishes, tomatoes, potatoes and the grilled vegetables around the platter, and spoon a few tablespoons of the olive tapenade over all the vegetables. Serve with the extra olive tapenade on the side.