Let’s think outside the box this summer. When it comes to grilling, go beyond meats and fish.
Last summer, we posted a recipe for grilled pizza; have you considered grilling vegetables, fruits… or even cheese?
The basic method is to heat the grill, brush the grill grate with oil, toss fruit in a little oil and place it on the grate. Then close the grill lid for a minute or so – the time will depend on fruit’s ripeness, about 1-3 minutes. Peaches or apricots will take a little longer. Try figs or grapes – just cut in half and brush with oil, but take care not to let them fall through the grill grate. Or, place cherries and berries in a sauté pan, place the pan on the grill and close. You’ll still get that nice smoky flavor. Pineapple rings are also great on the grill – you get those nice grill marks!
Serving grilled fruits
- Make a grilled fruit salad and toss with baby greens.
- Try them on ice cream with a drizzle of honey.
- Grilled pineapple shortcakes are delicious; grill the shortcakes as well, or try butter-brushed pound cake.
- Skewer fruit with chunks of cake, brush with butter and grill.
- Wrap big, flat wedges of cantaloupe or watermelon in prosciutto… mmm, sweet and savory.
- Chop grilled fruits into a salsa.
- Try my recipe for bacon-wrapped peaches with blue cheese with bacon and balsamic honey glaze (below).
- Cut grapefruit and bananas in large chunks and brush with maple syrup; place on the grill grate or skewer them so they’re easy to turn. You can mix the maple syrup with a bit of smoked paprika, cinnamon or cumin for a savory kick.
- Grill thin lemon slices in oil, and use them on practically anything: in salads, on chicken and with vegetables.
Grilled corn is delicious on its own, or once grilled, you can cut kernels from the cob to use in other recipes. Soak the ears in water in their husks; place on the grill and steam them for about 20 minutes. Or, husk the ears and char them.
More grilled veggie ideas:
- Cut firm radicchio lettuce or iceberg into big wedges, brush with olive oil and cook in a closed grill.
- Try asparagus, peppers or green beans in a grill basket.
- Steam fava beans in the pod; when you open the pod, they just pop out of shell and are vibrant green. Yummy and low fat!
- Grill beets or small red potatoes; parboil first, and when almost cooked but still firm, cut in half and place on grill for the last bit of cooking. Be sure the grill is hot and the veggies are brushed with oil. Make those grilled potatoes into a lovely, lower fat potato salad. They have so much flavor, you’ll use less condiments or dressing – maybe just a little feta and olive oil.
- Leeks, scallions and carrots are options but need parboiling first. Parboil until a skewer goes in with just a little resistance.
- Portabella mushroom burgers are meaty and are a healthy substitute for meat – in fact, they taste almost like meat when grilled.
- Try grilled fennel. Cut fennel lengthwise in half, remove the firm core but leave the fronds, and grill. The fronds may scorch a bit but they look great on the plate! Once cooked, toss in Balsamic-herb marinade; olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; salsa verde; or bacon dressing.
Yes, you can grill cheese! A firm cheese with low moisture content works best, and can be placed directly on the grate. Try Halloumi, a firm Greek cheese that’s a bit salty and slightly tangy. It’s wonderful garnished with a few thin slices of grilled lemon. Or try Ricotta Salata, a sheep’s milk cheese that’s dense and firm, similar to feta. You can also place grilled vegetables on an ovenproof platter, top with cheese and let melt in a closed grill.
What have you grilled this summer? Have you tried grilling fruits and vegetables?
Grilled Potatoes with Feta, Green Olives and Mint
2 1/4 pounds small red-skinned new potatoes
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup of water
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Picholine olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
3 ounces Feta, drained and crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
Pre-cook potatoes: Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half or in quarters depending on their size (they should be one-bite size) and place in a clay or metal baking dish. (Do not crowd the pan or they will take much longer to cook. The potatoes should be in a crowded single layer at most.) Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add 1/2 cup of water by pouring into the corner of the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until tender, 30 minutes. (A knife inserted into the potato should encounter no resistance.) Cool slightly.
Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill until hot.
Grill potatoes: Brush the grill with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and toss the potatoes with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until they have grill marks, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the grill and place in a large serving bowl.
Assemble salad: Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil to the grilled potatoes, plus the lemon zest, parsley, mint, oregano and olives. Mix well. Add the crumbled feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve warm or at room temperature.
Ease of preparation: easy to medium
Prep time vs. make time: Prep time is 15 minutes. Cook time is 15 minutes
Estimated cost/serving: $20 total/$2.50 a person
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