Posts Tagged ‘onions’

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful summertime treat. Below is a description of how to grill zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, beets, and tomatoes. You can grill on either a charcoal or gas grill, and roasting in the oven works too, though without the “grilled” taste. Also, you can grill your vegetables ahead of time – then later reheat or eat at room temperature. Grilling ahead of time (minutes, hours, or even a day or two) is especially useful if you have other main-dish items to grill for the meal. These recipes ideas are adapted from an article by Susie Middleton in the July 2002 issue of Fine Cooking magazine.

General Vegetable-grilling Tips:
* Most vegetables should be liberally brushed with oil (ideally olive oil) or any oil-based marinade before grilling to help lock in the juices. The oil can cause a flash flare-up – just put the lid on tightly or sprinkle on water to extinguish it.
* Charcoal users should build a two-zone fire. Pile the coals so that there is a cooler edge on one side of the grill.
* Grill on high heat. If you need to move a vegetable to lower heat, move it to the side of the grill or turn one gas burner down.
* Cook peppers, beets, garlic, and onions. They don’t need to be watched too closely or turned frequently. Grill the zucchini and eggplant together since the need to be check every minute or so.
* Don’t undercook vegetables. The great flavor of vegetables comes from their juices caramelizing at high heat.

Zucchini and Summer Squash:

To prepare: Trim off both ends. Make either lengthwise slices or cut on diagonal to make oval-shaped pieces – all slices should be about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Brush both sides of each piece with olive oil and season with salt just before grilling.
To grill: Place squash pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angel to the grates and grill, covered, until well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Move slices around as necessary so that they brown evenly – don’t undercook them.

Eggplant:
To prepare: All eggplant can be grilled, though oriental varieties (long and skinny) are particularly well-suited. Cut stem end off eggplants. For oriental varieties, slice in half. For other round varieties, cut crosswise into rounds about 3/8 inch thick. You can also use a vegetable peeler to peel lengthwise strips off the round eggplants (they’ll look striped) to eliminate some of the tough skin.
To grill: Put eggplant pieces on the grill and cover. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until well-browned and limp. Check occasionally and move if necessary so that all pieces are browned evenly. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Let sit 15-20 minutes (thicker eggplant pieces will often still be raw in the middle without this last step of letting the residual heat steam the flesh).

Onions:
To prepare: Trim off both ends, peel off outer skin, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread slices on metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers. Brush liberally with olive oil and season with salt.
To grill: Put onion skewers on grates and cook until slices are well-browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Leave them sit for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.

Tomatoes:
To prepare: Make sure to use “plum” or “processing” tomatoes. These tomatoes have a lower water content and are best for grilling (as well as sauce and salsa). Cut each tomato in half and gently remove the seeds with your fingers. Rub lightly with olive oil and salt cut sides.
To grill: Grill on medium heat with cut sides down for 7-9 minutes. Then carefully turn over and move them to the lowest heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes more, until most of the moisture is gone. With a spatula, press them gently to flatten and help release moisture. You can let them cook as long as possible – the longer the better.

Sweet Peppers:
To prepare: Red peppers are best, but can also use Italian frying peppers (long, pointy pungent peppers). Red peppers should be left whole and dry. For frying peppers, cut in half and remove seeds and thin dividers (membranes).
To blacken red peppers: Put the peppers on the grated, cover, and cook until the skins are blackened on all sides. Turn peppers several times to make sure all sides of pepper are charred and black, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and put all peppers into a single brown paper bag (such as a grocery bag) to cool completely. When cool, peel off blackened skin under running water. Then remove stems and seeds, reserving the flesh and juices. (Note that this method also works for Anaheim hot peppers)
To grill green peppers: Put oiled pieces on grill and cover. Cook until browned and tender.

Garlic:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt (remove a layer of skin if necessary) and cut off tip. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the cloves should be very soft – the inner flesh should squeeze out when head is compressed. If not soft, return to grill until done. We love to eat the garlic spread on small pieces of toast or crackers.

Beets:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt, and cut of the leaves, leaving 1/4″ of leaf stems. Do not peel the beet. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the beet should be tender – you should be able to easily spear with a fork or knife. When done, the skins become loose – when eating you can slide off the skins, and slice if you like.

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