Text and recipes by Chef Joey
It’s beautiful weather, and there are many days and nights when outdoor cooking is a nice break to the usual pots and pans! But outdoor cooking does not always have to mean meats, chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs. There are lovely vegetables to savor!
Italians have been grilling veggies for years, firing off peppers for antipasto, grilling eggplant, carrots, fennel, squash, zucchini to name a few, and the flavors are exquisite – plus, it is so easy to do!
If you think about it, people have been boiling or steaming vegetables for what seems like forever – oven-roasted is popular now, too. However, that tradition of cooking is as old as the first oven. Go back a few hundred years – they had ovens, spit roasts and pots over a fire. As the concept of cooking came about in the 1700s with fancy chateaus creating stoves, sauces and other delights were new for the palate…
You do not have to have a grill outside to do this – a panini press or a “Forman” grill works great. The trick to grilling veggies is to cut them diagonally so they are large enough and you are not spending hours on small circles.
Carrots, for example, sweeten up and taste fantastic! Drizzle them with fresh olive oil and salt, and you have the sweet and savory effect that everyone loves.
Simply peel your carrot and cut lengthwise, as thin as you can, and toss them with a little oil before placing on the hot grill.
Close the lid, wait about 4 minutes, then turn them.
You don’t want to burn them!
Cook another 4 minutes or so and then place them in a pan and cover. They will continue to cook.
This is the same process for virtually every vegetable …
Asparagus cooks much faster and, of course, adjust the time for squash, which is very wet so it takes a little longer to cook.
Eggplant burns quickly – so keep an eye on it!😉
Once you have completed your grilling – take your veggies and arrange them on a platter.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt on top.
It is that simple!❤
If you want to take it to the next level…
Put 6 garlic cloves in the blender and ½ cup of olive oil and puree.
Add 1/22 cup olive oil and some salt – pour it into a dressing decanter and drizzle your veggies with that – the garlic adds a kick! And you have dressing for the next time. It goes fast, as the veggies soak it in.
Veggies like sprouts: I recommend a grilling basket. You can just shake it to move the sprouts around. Cut them in half for faster cooking times.
Rule of thumb is when you see the grill marks distinctly on both sides, chances are they are done. And again, they keep cooking when you take them off the grill.
When arranging your veggies, feel free to toss a can of drained chick peas, cannellini or navy beans into the oil and garlic mix. Place them with the veggies for added protein!!