From Garden to Grill
By The Culinary Institute of America
The grill isn’t just for meat. Vegetables are also right at home cooked above a hot layer of coals. The grill’s smoke lends a unique flavor to vegetables, and the high heat draws out their natural sugars, caramelizing their surface for an irresistible bite. Grilled vegetables are vibrant and aromatic enough to stand on their own as an appetizer or main course.
From greens to dense roots, it is possible to grill almost any vegetable. The key is to take special care when grilling and to use the freshest produce available. Farmers’ markets and farm stands, grocery stores that feature local produce, and home gardens are often the best sources for fresh vegetables. Ideally, vegetables should be firm and unblemished with bright colors. Attached leaves should be full, not limp or wilted, and root ends, if any, should be dry.
Howie Velie, associate dean of culinary specializations at The Culinary Institute of America, offers these tips when preparing vegetables for the grill:
• Give them a good rinse and allow them to dry well. It is especially important for vegetables to be dry if they are going to be coated with oil before grilling.
• Parboil denser vegetables to help speed their grilling time. Place them in boiling salted water, or steam them, until they are slightly tender.
• Brush a light coating of oil on the vegetables as well as on the cooking grate to keep the food from sticking.
• To prevent a flare-up from too much oil dripping onto the burner or coals, shake off the excess oil from the vegetables before placing the items on the grill.
Feel free to grill other vegetables such as cauliflower, poblano peppers, and baby carrots to add in the following salad recipe. You can also include thin slices of celery, fresh basil or cilantro, or red onions. This recipe is a great accompaniment to grilled, roasted, or baked meats, fish, or poultry.
To enjoy a brief step-by-step demonstration of CIA Chef Howie Velie preparing Marinated Pepper Salad, watch the video above now!