here are fantastic ways to grill your veggies to create delicious easy dishes, from one of my favorite magazines, Bon Appetit:
1. Easiest ever grilled corn salad. The secret is to skip husking the corn before tossing it on the bbq. Trim away excess corn silk at the top to avoid it catching on fire and then throw the cob on the grill and let it go. It’s simple to husk the cobs when they come off the grill. I used to take the cobs off after about 10 to 15 minutes, which gives you perfectly cooked, tender kernels, but I learned a new trick recently from Chef April Bloomfield at the Spotted Pig here in New York. She keeps the cobs on the grill until they blacken in places and have serious grill marks. You want to caramelize some of the kernels, and that requires about 25 minutes on the grill (peel back the husk if you must to check what’s going on. You only want some of the kernels to blacken). Because corn has so much natural sugar, you’ll get the sweetest, roastiest corn possible, perfect for a corn and heirloom tomato salad lightly dressed with balsamic or sherry vinegar and olive oil.
2. Portobello burgers with grilled onions. This is a staple at my house, and it’s easy to see why they taste so good. Combine sweet caramelized grilled onion and the intense umami flavors of a grilled portobello mushroom on a sturdy bun, and you have the makings of one great sandwich. Add some grilled red pepper and some garlic mayo, a few leaves of arugula, and it’s pretty close to perfect.
3. Grilled tomato pasta sauce. I adapted this recipe from one on Tamra Davis’s website and was astonished at how good and easy it was. I simply put olive-oil-smeared tomatoes on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes until they blistered, peeled them, and pureed them in a food processor with a dollop of tomato paste. Simmer for a few minutes, season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh oregano from the garden and then toss with fresh pasta, and you get a dish that is light, fresh, and tastes like the essence of summer.
4. Grilled potatoes with aioli. You’ll have to cook the potatoes a little before grilling them. I love Eve Felder’s method: She puts potatoes (halved if large), lots of salt, cloves of unpeeled garlic into a roasting pan, covers it tightly with foil, and then roasts at 400°F until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork. At this point, they can be tossed in olive oil and finished on the grill. Make a quick aioli by mixing a clove or two of minced garlic and a little lemon juice to taste into home-made or purchased mayonnaise.
5. Smashed grilled potatoes tossed with herbs. This is my summer grilling standy-by. Par-cook potatoes and then squash them slightly with the heel of your hand until they are flat, brush with oil, and grill to crispy perfection. Toss with chopped herbs, such as basil, oregano, mint, and parsley. Fantastic with grilled steak.
6. Grilled radicchio with balsamic vinegar and fleur de sel. Radicchio is the classic bitter veg to grill: Simply cut it in wedges, toss it with olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Splay the wedges out a little as you grill them, so you expose the whole piece to the heat, and cook until done. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar will intensify a little and contrast brilliantly with the bitter radicchio. Sprinkle lightly with a finishing salt such as fleur de sel to really highlight the bitter/sweet flavors.
7. Mixed grill with salsa verde. A platter of grilled zucchini, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and fennel (Eve recommends blanching fennel before grilling it) is unbelievably beautiful and delicious drizzled with the Italian herb sauce salsa verde (not to be confused with the Spanish tomatillo salsa of the same name).
8. Grilled caesar salad. Sounds weird but it works. Grill halved romaine lettuce heads until you get grill marks and grill olive oil-brushed baguette slices for the croutons and then proceed with your normal recipe. Delicious.
9. Grilled sweet potato wedges with rice vinegar. Par cook sweet potatoes, cut them in wedges or thick slices, and grill so that you get good grill marks on them. This recipe really depends on getting good caramelization on the sweet potato. Sprinkle with rice vinegar or another mild vinegar for a great sweet/sour side dish (it’s low fat and packed with vitamins, too).
10. Grilled escarole with white beans. Grill escarole until black marks appear, chop roughly and mix with canned white beans. Season to taste with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and maybe a squeeze of lemon. Chopped, grilled Italian sausage would be a fantastic addition.