Veggie grilling guide
Editor’s note: Whether it’s a choice steak or a simple hotdog, nothing says summer like grilling. Don’t forget the vegies! The folks at DECA have gone out of their way to prove that there’s more to pairing grilled meat with vegetables than potato salad. Here are their tips on how to get the grill involved.
Trim off the tough lower ends and soak in cold water for 30 minutes to an hour if the stalks are a bit wilted. Pat dry, then place directly over the coals, turning every minute or so. Remove when the tips begin to turn brown. (These are really good!)
Cut peppers in half, top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Cut into strips about 2 inches wide; brush lightly with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. OR, leave the peppers whole and grill until completely blackened. Close the hot peppers in a plastic bag while they cool for 10-15 minutes, then peel off the blackened crust. The crust comes of easily, but it’s a messy job. Split open and remove seeds. Eat as antipasto with oil and vinegar or use in any recipe that calls for roasted peppers.
Cut a large head of green cabbage into 4-8 wedges and remove the core. Sprinkle wedges with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and generously dot with butter. Arrange wedges back together, as if a whole head again, and wrap tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or a double layer of regular foil. Grill over medium coals for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender. After the required cooking time, leave the wrapping intact and move to the back of the grill to keep warm while other menu items finish cooking.
Use full size carrots, but not too big – the smaller ones are best. Brush with olive oil and cook over medium to low coals until tender, or brown over higher heat and move to a cooler portion of the grill to finish. They will take at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Corn on the Cob
Gently pull back the husks, but don’t remove them. Remove the silks and cut off the very tip of the cob. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry, and brush generously with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends to secure. Place over medium coals for about 5 to 8 minutes, turning often to avoid burning. Keep warm on the back of the grill, away from direct heat, while the remainder of the meal is being grilled.
Slice larger varieties into rounds about 3/8 inch thick, smaller versions can be sliced in half lengthwise. Brush with olive oil and grill until they start to brown, about 5 minutes per side. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or serve with an Italian salsa verde (garlic, basil, parsley, and tomatoes – all fresh and all chopped; ap salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste.)
Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hot fire. Grill for about 10 minutes, or until the skin is brown.
Clean and remove stems. Toss in a bowl with oil, then thread on metal or wooden skewers, or if they are large enough not to fall through the grate spread them loosely over the grill. Grill 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms and 6-8 minutes for larger ones.
Sweet varieties such as Vidalia onions are best, but any onion will do. Peel and slice onions about ½ inch thick, brush with oil and grill about 3-5 minutes per side. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired. Onions can also be quartered or chunked and threaded on a skewer with other vegetables for a nice kebab.
Cut in half top to bottom. Grill cut side down about 2-3 minutes.
Wash and dry whole potatoes. Rub with vegetable oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes or longer, turning occasionally. To test for doneness, squeeze gently with a hand protected by an oven mitt. When they give to gentle pressure, they are done. Or, place small new potatoes and fresh green beans on a large square of aluminum foil, dot generously with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly, folding edges of foil securely to prevent butter leaking. Grill for 35-40 minutes. Thick slices of potato can also be grilled directly on the grate. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes per side.
Zucchini (or any other summer squash)
Small squash can be halved lengthwise, large ones should be cut into ½ inch thick rounds. Brush with olive oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Use a hot fire so they cook quickly and stay firm, but watch carefully so they don’t burn.