Smoky Grilled Vegetable Torte


This gorgeous vegetarian torte makes an impressive company dish for a casual, late-summer dinner party. Serve it with a big platter of arugula drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper—and sprinkled with a few shards of Parmesan cheese.

Prep 45 minutes

Grill 40 minutes

Stand 15 minutes

Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 16-ounce tube refrigerated cooked polenta, sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 medium red, green, and/or yellow sweet peppers, quartered and seeded

2 fresh portobello mushrooms, stems removed

1 large eggplant, bias-sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 medium zucchini, bias-sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 medium yellow summer squash, bias-sliced 1/4 inch thick

Salt and ground black pepper

11/2 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese (6 ounces)

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup halved pear, grape, or cherry tomatoes

Basil leaves (optional)

1. In a small saucepan heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat until fragrant and garlic is translucent but not browned; remove from heat and set aside.

2. Place polenta, sweet peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash on large baking sheets. Brush polenta and vegetables generously with the garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. For a charcoal or gas grill, place polenta slices on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until polenta is lightly browned and heated through, using a metal spatula to carefully turn slices. Grill vegetables directly over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender, turning once. (Grill in batches, if necessary.) Remove from heat and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, slice mushrooms.

3. In a 9-inch springform pan layer grilled vegetables and polenta, starting with eggplant. Sprinkle some of the cheese and a few basil leaves over each layer. Press to compact the layers. Top with tomatoes, more basil leaves, and the remaining cheese. Place torte in a foil pan or wrap the outside of the pan with a double layer of foil. Grill torte over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

4. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Remove outer ring of springform pan. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut into wedges. If desired, garnish slices with additional basil leaves.

Each serving 283 cal, 20 g fat, 24 mg chol, 476 mg sodium, 19 g carb, 5 g fiber, 9 g pro.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Fresh by the editors at Better Homes and Gardens . Photographs by Better Homes and Gardens, Jason Donnelly, Andy Lyons, and Kritsada Panichgul. Copyright 2013