Grilling Vegetables for Sides

ImageWhile you have your grill going to cook the main dish, why not use that heat to cook your sides as well? And don’t forget about dessert!

Before grilling anything, remember these steps to ensure nice grill marks and to avoid food sticking to the grates.

1 – Prep your grill properly. This means preheat the grill for at least 10 minutes. Then clean very well with a grill brush. Once all the cooked on food has been scraped off, take a paper towel or rag and wipe the grates down with a little oil.

2 – Prep your food. This is easy to forget. For almost everything, you want to make sure the surface is very dry. You can do this by just patting dry with some towels, or, if cooking meat season it with salt and let it sit uncovered in your fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight. Whichever method you choose, after the surface is nice and dry brush with some oil. This will ensure the food won’t stick to the grill. If you oiled the food while still wet, the water would interfere with the oil doing its job.

A note on salting meat: When salting your meat you want to either do so right before grilling or at least 45 minutes before. This is because the salt will draw moisture to the surface after just a few minutes. But as it sits, that moisture will be reabsorbed into the meat leaving a dry, well-seasoned surface.

Here are a few grilled side dish ideas:

Grilled Potato Salad

Par boil new potatoes until just fork tender. Drain, cool and then slice in half. Toss with a good amount of olive oil. Place cut side down on the grill and cook until you have nice grill marks. If you try and move the potato and it resists, let it cook for another minute or two and it should release itself. You can either pull the potatoes off now or rotate them a little to get some cross hatching.

Once they are grilled, you can leave them whole or chop them up and use them in your favorite potato salad recipe. We like them dressed very simply with some olive oil, lemon juice, scallions and salt and pepper.

Grilled Caprese Salad

You really need to use heirloom tomatoes for this. Beefsteak varieties work the best because they have a lot of flesh and the seed pockets are pretty small. Cut the tomatoes about a ½ inch thick and try and dry them the best you can. Brush with olive oil and place on a nice hot grill. Grill until the tomatoes release from the grates and you have some good caramelization. You can either flip them now or just remove them.

To serve, either lay them on a plate with some sliced mozzarella and basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic or chop them up and combine with the same ingredients for a more potluck friendly salad. Add in some cooked and chilled pasta for a delicious pasta salad.

Grilled Peaches

Like warm peach pie but you don’t have to turn on your oven or make a pie crust!

Choose peaches that are just barely ripe. Peaches that are too ripe will break down too much on the grill and stick. Cut the peaches in half and brush with a neutral flavored oil or butter. Place cut side down and cook until they release from the grates. Either rotate for a cross hatch look or flip now so that the whole peach is warmed through.

These are especially delicious topped with ice cream.