You smell it a mile away and your nose goes into a Sherlock Holmes mode trying to figure out who has the grill going. The idea of a hot charcoal fire going, the sizzle of the best steaks, chicken, or burgers make your mouth begin to salivate. Pavlov and his dog have nothing on the effect that the mere smell of a grill has on most humans. Yes, I hear your taste buds screaming as they begin to do their happy dance in eager anticipation of the grilled wonders you have prepared.
In all the excitement over your perfectly grilled steak, do not forget about your vegetables! Yes your vegetables, grilling and veggies go together like a French fries and ketchup. Ok, I am sure there is a classer example but you catch my drift. Ideally grilling is the healthiest way to cook all of your food as well as the best way to get the real flavor of your food. Taste is highly important so it is equally important that you know what you are doing when it comes to grilling your vegetables. While the charcoal flames smell tasty, the burnt charcoal flavor is not.
Mind you, you should really use fresh vegetables to grill with whenever given the choice, preferably garden fresh. I hope that you have a garden at your house where you have daily access to only the freshest veggies in town. If not, buy them from a farmers market or the produce section of good grocery store. You know what I mean; you have been in the market and gone through the produce section and seen the moldy fruits or wilted vegetables. Stay away from those.
To grill those veggies the right way you need to understand the proper technique so that you do not end up serving bitter and blackened veggies. The key is shape, size, and heat. You want to cut your vegetables in large flat pieces before you offer them to the grill Gods. Once they are cooked, you can then cut them into smaller pieces if you like.
While each vegetable is as unique as people are you need to know the best way to prepare each vegetable. Large vegetables such squash and eggplants are easier to work with as that they are more uniform in shape. Then you have vegetables such as onions that need to cut into about ½ inch slices parallel to the equator, of the onion not the earth. Make sure that you start from the end of the onion and not the middle.
You are best off with thin vegetables and vegetables that have high water content like tomatoes are best just left alone and grilled as they come. If you are working with high water content greens then you will want to trim ends and then soak in cold water. Fennel and endives should be sliced lengthwise so that the core holds it together.
Next, you will want to brush the vegetable with olive oil before you grill because vegetable do not contain any fat to help with the grilling. While you can use any oil, I recommend olive oil because of its health benefits and it does not hide the flavor of the vegetable. Do not forget to add salt and pepper, or perhaps lime or lemon juice. You will want to add all of this prior to grilling so that you do not scorch the vegetables.
While grilling vegetables is a true art form, it is one worth mastering if you really want to appreciate the flavor of the vegetables. Come on, doesn’t a piece of corn on the cob marinated with limejuice and salt and pepper make you want to start the grill? Not a big vegetable person, maybe it is because you just do not know how to cook them. It is time to offer the grill Gods what they really crave, which are fresh vegetables.
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