An early-season heat wave here has us throwing just about everything we wanted to cook on our grill this past week. Groceries I never imagined would grill up nice and tasty have become some of my family’s new favorites. Many of them come from the produce department.
Grilling vegetables intensifies and can change the very character of their flavor profile. We used a lot of plentiful and in-season veggies stocking grocers’ shelves now. According to the folks at Cooks Illustrated, grilling vegetables has become more common. They’re a quick and easy dish, not to mention very tasty:
“In general, vegetables should be cut to expose the maximum surface area to the grill, which helps them cook quickly and thoroughly. Smaller vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms, need to be skewered to keep them from falling through the grill, as do slices of some larger vegetables like onions.”
Great vegetables to grill include zucchini and summer squash, endive and radicchio, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, fennel, asparagus, eggplant, beets – the list is almost endless.
Corn is also fantastic! Soak it in the husk (pull out the silks prior to soaking) for several hours and pop the ears right on the hot coals, turning frequently to steam the corn and intensify the flavor. Add a small lump of herbed butter inside the husk prior to grilling for a real treat.
Testers at Cooks Illustrated recommend using thin metal skewers to evenly, but bamboo skewers will work just as well if you soak them in water prior to use. Another method we like: heavy aluminum foil or an aluminum pie tin. If using aluminum foil, make it into a tray, folding up the sides. A pie tin works well if you poke small holes in the bottom. Place the foil or pie tin on top of your grill grate, and let the heat, turning often.
Regardless of your method – skewer, foil or pie tin – brush your veggies with olive oil or flavored oil prior to grilling.
Have a great time experimenting with grilled vegetables. Use them as a side dish or add them to pasta or sandwiches. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Cajun Spiced Corn from AllRecipes.com
- Grilled Asparagus with Gorgonzola Butter from the Grilled Asparagus Recipes blog
Please share your favorite grilled veggie concoctions with us here and happy summer eating to all!
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