With Memorial Day weekend approaching, the grilling season is officially here. I probably need not describe all the greatness of grilling, such as the lack of dirty dishes, a chance to enjoy a few more moments in the great outdoors, and the fact that it requires less fat than other cooking techniques. While burgers and dogs are awesome in their own right, it’s just as easy and extrememely delicious to cook vegetables on your grill, too. Here are my favorites, for consideration for your Memorial Day celebrations.
Asparagus. Toss in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and just throw it on perpendicular to the grilling grates. It cooks quickly; a nice char matches awesomely with the nutty, green flavor of asparagus. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over it before serving if you’re feeling zesty.
Portabella Mushrooms. The caps of ‘bellas are a great size to grill. If I think about it ahead of time, I’ll dunk them in a balsamic vinaigrette to marinate for an hour or five; otherwise, I use a silicon brush or my hands to coat them in olive oil and some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. These are great to serve topped with a little cheddar and barbeque sauce as a burger subsititute for any vegetarians at your soiree.
Red Bell Peppers. Few things are easier to do than roasting red peppers. Just remove any stickers and wash them, then put them on the grill whole. Rotate them to get every side charred really well (some would say burned). Place them in a deep bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; this steams the charred skin away from the sweet pepper within. After at least 10 minutes, peeling the skin will be much easier. Avoid using running water to take the skins off, as you’ll be washing away a ton of flavor, too. Oh, and this works with ANY kind of pepper; roasted jalapenos are to die for too.
Zucchini. There are three ways I can get my husband to eat an abundant zucchini harvest; hiding it in baked goods, sauteing it in olive oil and finishing with some scrambled eggs and red chile flakes, and grilling it. Like ‘bellas, zucchini loves a good marinade, especially if you add some minced fresh garlic and/or minced onion in the mix. Cut them lengthwise for ease of grilling.
Corn. I know, I know, it’s a starchy veg. But I would eat my burger without a bun if it meant I could choose some lovely grilled corn instead. I recommend keeping the corn in the husk, dunking it in water for a few minutes, shaking the excess water off, and then putting it directly on the grill. The corn steams in the husk, imparting an amazing, rich flavor. Remove from the grill, let it sit to cool a bit (maybe while your burgers are cooking), and then peel and enjoy. It really doesn’t need butter when you do it this way. By the way, ever try a squeeze of lime instead of butter on your corn? Wowza!
What will be on your grill this weekend?