Grilling Veggies

Yes, vegetables can go on the grill. It's not all about the meat, although I like the meat.

You can cut assorted vegetable into large cubes, toss lightly with salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil, then thread onto skewers. Grill until all veggies have softened a bit and serve with grilled or roasted chicken or pork. If you'd rather keep it simple and meat-free, serve with your favorite rice and drizzle everything with this simple vinaigrette: 2 T fresh lemon juice, 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper and chopped dill, thyme or basil. Top with shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

One of my favorite recipes for grilled vegetables turns all the smoky veggie goodness into a salad. This salad makes a great wrap sandwich too, by-the-way.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

4 medium zucchini cut into ¼ “ lengthwise slices
1 large yellow squash cut into ¼ “ lengthwise slices
3 peppers (red, orange & yellow), skin charred and peeled, cut into 1/2'” strips
4 medium Japanese eggplant cut into ¼ “ lengthwise slices
1 medium red onion, peeled, cut into ½” round slices and threaded onto a metal skewer
salt & pepper
olive oil

Once vegetables have been washed and tops cut off, peel the eggplant and red onion. Slice all vegetables except peppers--they will go on the grill whole. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the peppers on the grill over highest heat. They will be ready when almost completely black. Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic. (Later you will remove the stem and all of the seeds before slicing)

Grill the remaining vegetables and place everything into a large baking dish to cool. At this point, the vegetables will be cool enough to handle and you can begin assembling the salad. You can also grill a day ahead, cover the cooled vegetables and refrigerate, removing to a counter one hour before you begin assembly. This takes the chill off the vegetables and allows more of the natural sweetness to come out.

Remove onions from the skewer and chop coarsely. Cut remaining vegetables into large pieces. I cut across, which yields pieces that are about 1 ½ “ squares.

Place all of the vegetables in a shallow bowl and toss gently with the basil, cheese and fresh onion.
In a jar, shake well the vinegar, oil, grilling juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss gently again. Top with a bit more of the shaved cheese and a large spring of basil.

Serve at once or cover and take to a picnic or cookout. This is an easy side to steaks or burgers.

3 T Balsamic vinegar
9 T extra-virgin olive oil
juice from resting grilled vegetables
pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper
3 T finely chopped red onion
10 large basil leaves, julienned

1 c shaved Parmesan cheese