Several months ago, I set out to discover vegetarian dishes that would be considered a “main course”. This may be obvious to you, but I have slowly been discovering that I was being foolish in my endeavors. The very concept of a main course is contributing to our weight gain. The idea that you need a big piece or blob of anything in the middle of your meal is preposterous. We certainly like to be satiated, but stuffed is well past the full feeling. Simply put, we eat too much. Certainly what we eat is important but how much is maybe even more important. Ask any qualified dietitian and they will tell you if you want to lose pounds cutback caloric intake. Eat less!
One of the reasons that we eat too much is the size of our plates, both figuratively and literally. Last weekend’s “small plates” party was a great eye opener for me. Small servings with very concentrated flavor were really satisfying. I was worried about everyone getting enough to eat, even though I have been to many tapas bars and never had that problem. The difference is that if one was still hungry in a tapas bar you just ordered another plate. I don’t think I ever counted or knew that three or four plates was usually plenty, or twice that if you were sharing. If you take your time, three or four small plates of delicious food is a complete and really enjoyable meal, and your calorie intake will generally be less than a “main course” meal.
So I am no longer struggling for the main course. I am back to struggling with how to make vegetables flavorful and interesting. One of my discoveries – you may be thinking, “duh” – is that the best thing to do with really fresh, in season vegetables is to let them be themselves. Like a piece of fish, the less adulteration the better. The reason that people put so much crap on their burgers is that the burger itself is usually like a piece of cardboard, but that is another topic. Here is a treatment of the sweet, beautiful red pepper – a few subtle, well balanced flavors as dressing and what a wonderful “little” experience.
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper
- Shaved Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil
- Walnut Oil
- Chef’s Knife
- Clean and slice the pepper lengthwise in 6 pieces. You want the pieces to be big (so you can eat them with a knife and fork) but still able to lie flat on the grill and your plate.
- Lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Grill on both sides until they begin to soften and caramelize, about 20 minutes total.
- Place three pieces each on a small plate.
- Shave a little parmesan into the middle of each plate. This is not a cheese dish. What you want is a very thin sheath to add a little salty/nuttiness.
- Drizzle with a few drops of walnut oil. Again, not too much.
- Liberally grind black pepper over.