Mangia’s favorite – grilling veggies recipe.
The Basics of Grilling Veggies: Summer’s Bounty shines when cooked over an open flame.
When it comes to grilling, meat and seafood usually get all the glory. But don’t let the protein steal the show. Grilling vegetables also shine when cooked over an open flame. Follow these tips to achieve great results.
First, fresh is bet. This usually goes without saying, but is especially important when grilling veggies. Some vegetables, such as sweet corn, convert sugars to starch after harvest, resulting in less flavor and sometimes a meaty texture when grilled. Also, dense vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, benefit from partial cooking before placing them on the grill.
Clean and dry the vegetables before coating them with a marinade or olive oil. In some cases, like peppers, you can grill them whole with just a little oil to achieve charred skin and a smoky flavor. Grill veggies in like-kind groupings: dense with dense, delicate with delicate. For example, tomatoes, zucchini and sliced eggplant cook faster on the grill than potatoes or corn, so stagger their placement for best results.
Grilling vegetables intensifies their flavors. To achieve the best result, grill dense vegetables separately from those with a higher water content, like sliced eggplant and zucchini.
Perfect Grilled Eggplant
- 1 medium eggplant
- Olive oil for brushing
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- pinch of slat
- whole basil leaves for garnish, if desired
Trim he top and bottom off the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into ½ inch slices and place in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Position the grill or broiler rack about 5 inches away from the heat source. Brush the eggplant on one side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place oiled side facing the heat. Cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Brush the other side with oil and turn the eggplant. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together 4 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, basil, lemon juice and salt.
Arrange the eggplant on a platter and top with the olive oil mixture. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Peppers: The Global Stars
In many cuisines, peppers are one of the world’s greatest culinary gifts. A favorite of home gardeners, they pack a rich history and complex array of possibilities into their DNA. Ranging from sweet to tongue-burning hot, peppers have been traced to prehistoric Peru and are known to have been abundant in South America when European explorers arrived on the scene. According to food historians, before Christopher Columbus returned from an excursion in 1493, the only pepper much of Europe knew was the spice that people everywhere still sprinkle on food. That pepper comes from the seeds of the plant Piper nigrum. Most garden peppers are part of the Capsicum species, with a few exceptions. Regardless of their familiar lines, peppers come in many forms. The mini variety, above, has the colorful appeal of bell peppers. These small beauties are easy to prepare. Clean and dry them. Brush them with a little olive oil and place on a heated grill. Turn them occasionally to blister the skin on all sides, which usually takes about 8 minutes. Serve them on a charcuterie board with other grilled vegetables as a side with grilled steak or chicken, or chop them up and use them in pasta sauces. When shopping for peppers, look for those that are uniformly colored and free of blemishes. Though they’ll keep in the refrigerator for a week or more, it’s best to use them while still fresh.