Grilled vegetables are treasures of the summer season. When you visit a farmer’s market or the bounty of your own back yard, keep an eye out not only for what will make a good side dish, but for what will also make a snappy dip or flavored mayo.
GRILLED BALSAMIC VEGETABLES
1 zucchini, cut in long wedges or peeled into long ribbons
1 yellow squash, cut in long wedges or peeled into long ribbons
1 large tomato, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, cut in thick strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut in thick strips
1 large portobello mushroom, wiped with damp towel
1 red onion, cut in half
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Brush cleaned vegetables with mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt. Grill over hot coals, turning until grill marks appear on both sides. Serves 2-3.
ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP
1 large red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. creamy goat cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
Place pepper over hot coals and roast until well-charred. Remove from grill and place in bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow to sit 15 to 20 minutes until skin slips off easily. Remove skin, seeds, and stems. Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth and add fresh oregano. Serve with your favorite sliced vegetables. Makes 2 cups.
OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES
8 plum tomatoes, cut in half
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 250°. Toss tomatoes in remaining ingredients and place on oiled cookie sheet, cut side up. Slowly roast in oven about 2-1/2 hours until tomatoes have reduced in size by half. This is delicious spread on bruschetta bread slices. Makes 1 cup.
ROASTED CARROT & ORANGE SOUP
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
10 to 12 large carrots
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup fresh orange juice
Zest of 1/2 orange
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Grill carrots for two minutes, turning frequently. Chop cooled carrots. Melt butter in a saucepan and add onions. Cover and cook over low heat until tender and light brown. Add carrots and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until carrots are very tender.
Pour soup through a strainer and use a food processor or blender to purée the solids. Add one cup of the liquid, then add orange juice and zest. Process quickly until well-blended. Add remaining liquid. Pour all back into pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.
ROASTED GARLIC AIOLI
1 large head of garlic
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 of lemon
1 cup light olive oil
Aioli is garlic-flavored mayonnaise that is wonderful on seafood, roasted vegetables, or in chicken salad. When roasting fresh vegetables on the grill, throw on a head of garlic and mix up a fresh batch of this homemade mayo.
Grill whole head of garlic over hot coals until soft inside. Remove skins and place garlic in a food processor. Add egg, egg yolk, mustard, and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. Add olive oil through feeder on top in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. You will be able to see the change in color and thickness. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep for 2 to 3 days. Makes 1-1/2 cups.
GRILLED PORTOBELLO BURGERS
6 large portobello mushrooms
1 long loaf crusty French bread, cut into 6 equal pieces and each split in half
1 (8 oz.) container hummus
6 oz. feta cheese
Salt and pepper
With damp paper towel, wipe mushrooms to clean and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper on both sides. Grill over hot coals two to three minutes, turning often. Hollow out center of the top of each “bun.” Drizzle oil inside of bread slices and grill over hot coals until grill marks appear. In hollowed-out side of each slice, fill with a tablespoon of hummus and a chunk of feta cheese. Serves 6.
Coming Next Month: Old-Fashioned Ice Cream