We certainly got lucky this past Saturday. Despite the very un-summer like weather we’ve been having, the sun was actually shining. And the deliciously grown foods available at that morning’s market were just waiting to hit the grill. With the expertise of guest chef Randal Smathers, we set up at Rutland’s newest community garden (The Northwest Garden located on the corner of Park and Baxter streets) and demonstrated to neighbors and passersby to how easy and tasty it is to grill fresh vegetables.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the event was that almost anything can be grilled. Tomatoes, peppers, squashes, onions, snap peas, fennel and corn were just a few items we used with a degree of success. We don’t suggest grilling rhubarb, however – though it was a fun experiment.
Here are a few of Randal’s grilling tips:
- Oil the grill – not the veggies. This prevents burning and an unpleasant oily taste. When oiling the grill, do so just lightly and apply with a paper towel. It’s also important to make sure the grill is well cleaned beforehand.
- It’s much easier to grill the veggies first, then chop. Smaller pieces are more difficult to control when on the grill and it’s easy to lose them down the grates.
- Pay attention to the grill. Foods can cook pretty quick, especially veggies, and it doesn’t take long for something to burn.
And here’s what we made:
Grilled Veggie Salad. There’s really no recipe for this one. Just grill up your favorite mix of vegetables, slice and toss together with just a little olive oil, salt and any fresh herbs you have on hand.
- 2 ears of corn
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion, halved and papery outside skin removed
- 2 medium – hot peppers (your preference)
- small bunch of cilantro, chopped
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- hot sauce (optional)
- lime juice (optional)
- Soak the ears of corn in water for 30 minutes.
- Heat the grill to high heat and lightly coat the crates with olive oil.
- Place the corn, tomatoes, onion and peppers on the grill, intact.
- Cook until everything is slightly charred.
- Let cool a couple of minutes before handling and then remove the corn husks, tomato stem and outer layer of skin on the peppers and onions.
- Slice the corn off the cob, chop the onions, peppers, tomatoes and the cilantro.
- Toss everything together in a large bowl with some salt, a glug of oil and a splash of lime juice, and a couple dashes of hot sauce, if using.
You can use any combo of fresh veggies and herbs here. Try it as a side to meat or main dish tossed with pasta. If you already have grilled veggies leftover, you can put this together in just a couple of minutes.
- 4 cups of mixed grilled veggies sliced into medium sized pieces
- 1 cup of fresh herbs, chopped (use your favorite mix of summer herbs)
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon grill seasoning
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.