I spend all year dreaming about summer. More specifically, I dream about throwing an entire farmers market’s produce onto a fiery grill. I know what you’re thinking: What about burgers and hot dogs? Alas, thanks to soggy bell-pepper-zucchini skewers and undercooked slabs of eggplant, grilled vegetables are a tough sell among the meat-eating crowd — woe to the spicy portobello that dares to compete with a rack of pork ribs. does. And that’s a shame, because a few smart techniques can make burnt cabbage just as long as a juicy burger.
“The aroma of the smoke stimulates the appetite when you eat a vegetable that comes off the grill,” says Lara Lee, author of The Food and Drug Administration. Coconut and Sambli. “Grilling also adds quite a wonderful texture contrast: flaky, crisp skin and a soft inside. It tastes just like summer.”
So consider the following guide to grilled vegetables a friendly invitation to grill all your favorite products with a little char, from classic corn on the cob to juicy watermelon. Don’t forget to stock up on charcoal. It’s going to be a smoky, delicious summer.
Compound butter is the fastest way to upgrade classic corn on the cob. Lee channeled the popular Indonesian street food jugang bakar for himself, which mixed half a sliced red pepper, a few tablespoons of butter with palm sugar (or brown sugar), and a drizzle of kecap manis. “There’s smoke from the fire, heat from the chili, sweetness from the palm sugar, and kecap manis adds a delicious-sweet umami stickiness that helps the corn char with the sugar,” she says. Once the cobs are filled with black kernels, begin toasting with chili butter until you reach your ideal char. Then finish with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of citrus to cut through the richness. And why not? Add some more chili butter too.
If you’ve ever dipped pita after pita into a platter of baba ghanoush, you’re familiar with the miraculously smoky-sweet allure of grilled eggplant. Make a silky dip by piercing some small eggplants with a knife (to prevent any, um, explosions) before putting them on the grill to char. Flip them regularly until they are completely charred and soft, then let cool enough so that you can peel off the blackened skins and puree them into the dip.
Zucchini is full of water and basically steams itself if you don’t cook it on a grill hot enough. Many people salt their squash before cooking and release some of that water. But if I’m being honest, I usually can’t be bothered,” says Heidi Swanson, author of super natural simple. Instead, she takes a page from Dishoom Cookbook And makes a pickle with salty Indian pickles to extract some of the moisture and enhance the flavor. Swanson also opts for small, firm squash, which she cuts lengthwise into quarters and waters away the central “seed zone.”
Grilling scallions undermines their signature sharpness and adds tenderness. Leave them whole for ease of flipping and maximum aesthetics. A grill basket can help ensure they don’t fall off the grate. Round the grill with a few lemon halves (cut-side down!) to squeeze on top for an unexpected burst of acid. Serve with any proteins you’re grilling, chop them into salads, or borrow a page from beloved L.A. Taqueria sonoratownKey playbook and add a scallion to a platter of tacos.
Need a quick but substantial summer favor? Grill a few lobes of cabbage until they are evenly charred and caramelized, with lacy, crisp edges and a soft center. Begin by cutting the cabbage in half through the core to make sure it won’t fall through the grates, then cut each third into wedges and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Leave it on the grill for about 10 minutes, then let it sit a few more to make sure the center is completely tender. Offset the char with something creamy and fatty: Torn mozzarella, a dollop of tzatziki, or a drizzle of lemon-spiked tahini would all be excellent.
“Mushrooms are hearty and substantial and love to be grilled. They’re fairly straightforward if you don’t mind a few things. First, if your mushrooms are a little dirty, wipe them gently with a damp towel. Don’t soak,” says Swanson, noting that absorbent mushrooms can quickly take on a lot of water. “Secondly, always prepare and grill more mushrooms than you think. They remarkably shrink in size during cooking, and I’ve always wished I could make more. “
Just about any sandwich is made better with a pile of grilled bell peppers. A relatively thick skin acts as a protective layer on the grill, allowing the peppers to essentially steam in their own juices (much like roasting). foil, aka wrapped in parchment), which concentrates the flavor and adds a hint of smoke. Swirl the skin all the way around, and then, a la eggplant, peel it to reveal the crumbly, tender chili with a concentrated smoky-sweet flavor.
Don’t forget about the fruit! Staring at a bowl of slightly undercooked peaches that you can’t wait to eat? You know what I’m going to say: Toss them on the grill. Cut each peach in half vertically, removing the pits, and brush the cut side with a little olive oil so the flesh doesn’t stick to the grate. To make sure the sugar is fully caramelized, wait until you see strong grill marks. Serve with labneh, vanilla ice cream, or toss into the best fruit salad ever.
The high heat encourages most of the watermelon, well, to evaporate the water, taking away the flavor and adding a slightly smoky color. Slice into thick wedges (since heavy slabs have a habit of breaking when flipped) and brush with a little olive oil, then grill until each slice is barely soft but has coarse grill marks. be. Top with lots of lime juice and tajine and add corn nuts for a crunchy twist.
Aliza Aberbanelli is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn. This summer, she plans to eat her weight in stone fruit.