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Grilled vegetables can simply summer meals

July 20, 2005|by LYNN F. LITTLE

Grilling summer vegetables can bring out seasonal flavor. It also can simplify meal preparation, reduce utility bills and make short work of cleanup.

Use heavy-duty foil or a reusable foil baking pan with an edge to prevent smaller vegetables from slipping through the grill grid. Spray the foil or pan surface with vegetable cooking spray before placing it on the grill. While special utensils and equipment are not necessary for grilling vegetables and most other foods, using a nonstick pan with holes simplifies grilling delicate foods like fish, or more fragile fruits and vegetables.

Placing fragile foods in the pan allows fats and juices to drain and also makes foods easier to turn or remove from the grill grid.

Vegetable cooking spray or a small amount of vegetable oil prevents sticking and makes grilled vegetables easier to turn. Avoid spraying surfaces near a lighted grill.

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Marinating vegetables in an oil-based salad dressing or marinade also can make them easier to handle and less likely to stick to the pan, foil or grill surface. Marinades should, however, be reserved for that purpose and not reused after they have been used for marinating meat or other foods.

Since not all vegetables cook at the same rate, lightly steaming root vegetables like potatoes or carrots in the microwave before adding them to a summer vegetable mixture or kebab will help the vegetables all be ready to eat at the same time.

Use inexpensive bamboo skewers (available at the supermarket) for making vegetable kebabs. Kebabs can be difficult to turn, but they can be easier to manage when foods are similar in size and skewered in the center.

Grilled vegetables, like summer squash, often retain more texture than steamed vegetables. Grilling also can enhance flavor. For example, it highlights the sweetness and natural flavor of peppers.

Fresh-grilled vegetables will be hot and should be handled with a long-handled spatula or tongs. Grilled vegetables also should not come in contact with raw meat, poultry or fish. By placing vegetable grill pans to the side of the grill this is less likely to happen.

Fruits such as apple, mango or nectarine slices can be grilled as accompaniments for grilled meat, poultry or fish; or for dessert.

Fire-roasted food products and flavoring mixes are becoming more common in supermarkets. The same great flavors can be achieved at home, particularly when you are willing to be a little adventuresome.




Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.




Easy Grilled Potatoes


Scrub potatoes; slice them about twice as thick as a potato chip, and place them in a resealable plastic bag. Add herbs and a little vegetable oil or seasoned, Italian-style salad dressing; seal the bag, and turn gently to coat potatoes before placing them on the grill pan.

Turn once during grilling. Cooking time will vary with the type of grill, potato variety and size of slice. To test doneness, prick with a fork.

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