Grilling is a great way to dine outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Grilling can be used as a flavor enhancer, as the smoke adds great flavor to anything that is cooked on it. The grill gets a reputation for turning great cuts of meat, blends for burgers, and hot dogs alike into summer staples, but it's time to tell the meat to move over and make way for the vegetables. Grilled vegetables are a staple summer side dish and a good way to utilize the fresh produce that your local farmers market has to offer. All it takes is a hot grill, veggies, and a few common kitchen must haves and you will have flavorful grilled mushrooms for burgers, or charred onions to accompany your juicy grilled steak. Here are some tips on how to achieve perfect grilled vegetables for your next barbecue.
Grilled vegetables only need a few ingredients and a small amount of time to become the perfect summer side dish. Utilizing your community farmers market helps when adding variety to your vegetables, and the fresher the vegetable the better it will taste. Marinades are great, but aren't necessarily needed for grilling veggies. For maximum flavor, all you need is oil, salt and pepper when grilling vegetables. Evenly coat your vegetables with a small amount of oil before placing them on the hot grill. Oil helps the seasoning stick to the vegetables, and also not to stick to the grill which can cause tearing or separation.
It's All in the Technique:
Everyone wants those deeply charred grill marks, even when grilling vegetables. For perfect grill marks, do not flip vegetables over immediately when placing on the grill. Allow them to stay on one side for the first few minutes before flipping. Cutting your veggies to a good size before hand will also help achieve even grill marks. Cut desired vegetables between 1/4th and 1/2 inches thick, and when slicing round vegetables like onions, slice them across for flat cooking. Using skewers also helps keep veggies in one place for even cooking. If using wooden skewers, soak in water to prevent burning on the grill and skewer veggies like small tomatoes, asparagus, and potatoes.
To enjoy your grilled vegetables to the fullest, these quick and easy cooking reminders will help.
Asparagus - Wash and trim off course ends. Skewer to prevent asparagus from falling through grates. Season with oil, salt, and pepper.
Mushrooms- Thick and meaty mushrooms are great for grilling, because they can stand up to the heat and the char. (i.e. portabella mushrooms) Season with salt, pepper, and oil.
Corn - Remove the husk and the silk. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper
Tomatoes - Cut tomatoes in half. Brush the flat side of the tomato with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill flat side down.
Potatoes - Blanch potatoes in salted water, and when slightly cooked, strain and cool. When ready to grill, season with oil, salt and pepper. Use skewers to prevent small potatoes from rolling around on the grill.
Peppers - Peppers can be seeded and cut into quarters or grilled whole. Season with oil, salt and pepper.
Summer Squash - Slice squash lengthwise, about a quarter inch thick. Season with oil, salt, and pepper.
Fire up the grill and make these recipes this weekend: