Friday, May 28, 2010

0 Recipe #117: Grilled Marinated Vegetables

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Tonight, we made chicken and vegetables on the grill, and drank Virgin Marys, as described in an earlier post. We had a great time and everyone really enjoyed the meal! :)

I made the Virgin Mary mix the night before, chilling it in a large pitcher in the refrigerator until it was ready to be served. And then, about an hour before dinner, I made the vegetables on the grill. About half-way through, my mother joined me on the deck and grilled the chicken on the other half of the grill. The chicken was prepared very simply -- with some rosemary, thyme, onion and garlic powders, and some paprika -- and while it was cooking on the grill, I drizzled the chicken with some of the remaining lemon juice I'd used to make the marinated vegetables. :) The grilled chicken was really good!

Below is the recipe for the grilled, marinated vegetables. This dish is perfect for those lazy summer evenings, when all you want to do is make the food as quickly as possible & just get down to the eating part. :) The veggies cook very quickly, and so, it's just simply a matter of timing the preparation & cooking in conjunction with the preparation of the other meal accompaniments and also with one's dinner time. :)

Our family has also been known to grill all year 'round; we'll often bundle up & grill in the dead of winter. What can I say, we native Pennsylvanians are a hearty bunch. :)

Word to the wise, this dish is best made in batches, unless you have a gigantic grill & can fit everything onto it at once. :) As for cooking utensils, I recommend using metal tongs. A grill spatula, while serviceability, isn't really the best tool for the job, as you'll need to grasp some of the vegetables and place them strategically on one side or the other, (especially for the vegetable wedges), or, in case of the red peppers, spread the ends out so that they cook/char evenly. Also, you'll want to bring 2 large, heat-resistant serving bowls with you to the grilling area. The first bowl is used for the raw marinated vegetables, and the second, for the cooked vegetables after they come off the grill. Since you'll most likely be cooking them in batches, it'll be a challenge to use a single bowl for both phases of the preparation. ;) Also, it's a good idea to immediately ferret the grilled vegetables back to the dinner table, so that family members &/or other diners can dig in right away while the vegetables are still warm. This requires that you time the cooking precisely; I would recommend that you start the grilled vegetables before the chicken, as the chicken will be done long before you're done making the vegetables, especially if they need to be made in multiple batches. :)

I also recommend putting a large, rectangular, slotted metal or disposable aluminium pan over the grill, & cooking the veggies on top of this, so that the smaller pieces don't fall through the grill bars into the charcoal. IMHO, cooking a charcoal grill yields much tastier results, although a gas grill is perfectly acceptable. You'll want to crisp the vegetables so that they have a nice crispy, slightly charred appearance.

When I make this recipe, I tend to use whatever's available, & grill the veggies according to their "burn" factor.  In other words, soft veggies that burn quickly go onto the grill last. :)

I like to make this recipe when I come home to visit my parents. For one, we all really enjoy the taste of the marinated vegetables, and secondly, they have a really nice grill that's a pleasure to use. Plus, when the weather's warm enough, we'll eat dinner out on their deck.  It's really fun to do that.


Grilled Marinated Vegetables

Marinade Ingredients:
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
2 Tbsp. dried oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. dried parsley leaves
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp. dried marjoram leaves
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. ground black pepper

Grill Ingredients:
1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds
1 large yam &/or sweet potato, sliced into wedges
4 large carrots, peeled & then sliced lengthwise into 1/2" wide spears
1 medium-sized red-skinned potato, sliced into wedges
1 large red onion, sliced into wedges
1 large yellow onion, sliced into wedges
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 wide "spears"
1 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced into 1/4" wide "spears"
2 large red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise into  1/2" wide spears

Optional Grill Ingredients:
(Can be added to or substituted for any of the above; adjust marinade amounts accordingly.)
beets, sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds
whole poblano peppers
tomatoes, halved or sliced into rounds
mushrooms, whole or halved
whole asparagus
whole garlic
whole scallions
whole shallots
Belgian endive, halved

Directions: Combine all marinate ingredients in a large serving bowl, stirring thoroughly to ensure uniformity of flavor. Add all vegetables to the serving bowl, and with a large serving spoon, coat all ingredients with the marinade. Turn on the outdoor grill to high. With metal tongs, carefully place the marinated vegetables onto metal/disposable aluminium slotted grill pan, standing back from the flame, and watching carefully for flame "flareups" due to dripping marinade. Cook the ingredients in the order they are listed above; the eggplant will take the longest, followed by the beets, and then the yams, etc. (Every grill will be different, which is why I haven't listed exact cooking times.) Cook vegetables until they are crisp and slightly charred on the outside and soft on the inside. Place in a second serving bowl and serve immediately.

Alternate Serving Suggestions: Make a grilled vegetable sandwich on a rustic bread (like sourdough or ciabatta), adding warm feta or goat cheese. Alternatively, you could grill the bread and make a panini-like sandwich on the grill. Or, you can make vegetable kebabs using long wooden/bamboo or metal skewers.

Yield:  Serves 6-8.

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