One of the highlights of the summer season is the incredible bounty of fresh produce. Grilling vegetables gives them a smoky, delicious dimension. Here are some expert tips for for flavor perfection:
• When preparing vegetables, slice them to expose as much of the vegetable to the grill surface as you can.
• Coat vegetables with olive oil before placing them on the grill. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill.
• Use the right tool for the job. Accessories like grill toppers and skewers are perfect for keeping smaller foods like cherry tomatoes and onions from rolling around or falling through the grate.
• Don’t leave vegetables unattended. Vegetables are delicate and can easily overcook if not monitored.
• Grill extras. Leftover grilled vegetables are great in soups, salads, sandwiches and on pizzas and pasta.
Grilled Zucchini Rolls
3 medium zucchinis, sliced 1/4-inch thick, lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces soft goat cheese or cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed and minced
1 teaspoon oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Preheat the grill on medium. Brush both sides of sliced zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on the grill and cook for 4 minutes per side. When cooked, set on a wire rack to cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, salt, pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, oil and thyme.
3. Using a small spatula, spread the cheese mixture thinly over one side of the zucchini. Lightly roll the zucchini, and place seam side down on a small, parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place baking sheet on top rack of the grill for 15 minutes. Remove to a platter and serve.
Balsamic Vegetable Skewers
For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons DIjon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Skewers:
1 large zucchini, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large yellow squash, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments
2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
1 pint grape tomatoes
1. For the Vinaigrette: Whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place all vegetables in a large bowl, add vinaigrette, and toss to coat.
2. For the Skewers: Skewer vegetables, alternating between zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette in bowl.
3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers, turning, until vegetables are browned around the edges and beginning to soften, 5-8 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter and spoon on reserved vinaigrette. Serve immediately.