Grilled Vegetables

| 8/18/2010 10:17:35 PM

A-photo-of-Chuck-MalloryOne of the enchanting smells of summer is meat sizzling on the grill, and though my parents wouldn't have thought of grilling any vegetable other than russet potatoes, nowadays people are throwing all kinds of veggies onto the grill.

If this is something you haven't done much of, or want to try, here are a few tips that will prevent your fresh garden gems from burning and ending up in the compost pile. While vegetables can, of course, go directly on the grill, for anything other than potatoes, a grilling pan or grilling basket comes in very handy.

Basics: First, remember to avoid letting raw meat touch the veggies to be grilled. You might think they're all going to be cooked anyway, but vegetables might not reach a high enough temperature to prevent harmful bacteria.

Some vegetables are so difficult to cook in their raw state on the grill that you should parboil them first; I even boil potatoes before roasting them on the grill (and potatoes should always have holes poked in them to avoid bursting). Boil potatoes and artichoke hearts for about 8-10 min. in boiling water before grilling. For carrots, celeriac, parsnips and whole garlic bulbs, boil 5-8 minutes before grilling.

Don't throw all the vegetables on the grill at once. It takes some experimenting, but basically harder vegetables, will, of course, take longer to grill. Very soft ones will take much less. The ones mentioned above for boiling before grilling are what I would consider "hard" vegetables. Medium ones could include leeks, scallions, onions, asparagus and bell peppers. Take care with "soft" vegetables such as ripe tomatoes, green onions, squash, zucchini and eggplant. And the grill should not be excessively cool or hot.

Corn: I'm of the belief that anyone who can grill can probably grill corn, or already has. Some people boil ears of corn before grilling to avoid any charring, while others like the extra smoky taste that direct grilling gives. There are two basic ways people grill corn: pull down the husk, tear off the silk, brush the kernels with oil, then pull the husk back on the grill. Method number two is what I'd call the "1960s Dad Method": husk the corn completely, cover with butter, salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil, and put on the grill.

8/22/2010 5:25:58 PM

I was wondering about the celery too! The asparagus and carrots sound like they would be good grilled and the pasta sauce, also. 660 types of veggies. Wow! It all makes me want to go out and fire up the grill now. Have a great day. gafarmwoman Pam Life on a Southern Farm

Chuck Mallory
8/21/2010 5:11:54 PM

An addition to the blog: I've had emails asking what the "weird" vegetables are in the top pic, and why I'm grilling "celery." That's not celery. It's Italian Radicchio, and the leek-type vegetables are actually Japanese scallions. The other veggies are purple asparagus and multi-colored carrots. All these came from the Henry's Farm booth at the Farmer's Market in Evanston, IL. They grow 660 different types of veggies, so it's where I go to find new stuff!

Cindy Murphy
8/19/2010 8:57:18 PM


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