Although you can successfully prepare this colorful end-of-summer salad on a gas grill, charcoal will imbue the vegetables with extra flavor. You can easily substitute white wine vinegar for the champagne vinegar without compromising the flavor of the Charred Vegetable Salad.
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded $
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices (about 2 medium)
1 sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges $
1 pint cherry tomatoes $
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar $
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce oil-cured olives (about 12), pitted and halved $
1/4 cup fresh small basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place bell peppers, skin sides down, and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes. Turn onion; add eggplant to grill. Remove bell peppers. Place bell peppers in a zip-top bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Grill eggplant and onion 5 minutes; remove onion. Turn eggplant; grill 5 minutes. Remove eggplant. Add tomatoes to a grill basket; grill 5 minutes. Remove bell peppers from bag. Peel and discard skins; slice lengthwise.
3. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and sugar. Slowly add 2 tablespoons oil, stirring with a whisk. Combine vegetables, dressing, garlic, and olives. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and chives.