Grilling season is here. Meat is the first thing most people think of throwing on the grill, but I really enjoy grilling all kinds of vegetables. I’ve even grilled romaine lettuce! Some vegetables lend themselves easily to the grill, others are a bit more challenging but that’s where the “stick” comes in. Here’s what I’ve been grilling recently:
- Brussels Sprouts
I discussed Portabella mushrooms recently but smaller ones also make for good grilling. Here I used baby bella mushrooms. I made a flavored oil by gently simmering 2-3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in 1/4 cup of olive oil until the garlic cloves turned golden. When the mixture was cooled I brushed it on my skewered mushrooms. I grilled them over high heat, turning once, until the mushrooms were tender. It took just just 5-10 minutes. The time will vary depending on the size of the mushroom.
I used to think I didn’t like Brussels sprouts and then discovered other ways to cook them. When they are pan sauteed, shredded into slaws, or roasted they do not resemble the stinky, mushy, blobs I remember from my childhood in any way!
Grilling is another way to avoid bad Brussels. To prepare fresh sprouts, simply rinse and trim the stem ends. If you tried to cook raw Brussels sprouts on the grill they might end up getting burnt to a crisp before they are cooked through so I suggest steaming them in a steamer basket for about 5 minutes. Let them cool until they can be handled and thread them onto skewers. Brush with a little oil so they don’t stick. (I like to use wooden skewers for vegetables as they tend to “grip” better. The skewers should be soaked in water for a few hours before use.) Grill over high heat just until they are heated through and you get some nice charred marks on each side.
Here is one more vegetable that takes to grilling. Thicker stalks of asparagus work well for this.
To trim a bunch of asparagus quickly, take one stalk and bend it until it breaks. Line up all the stalks so the tips are even and trim the whole bunch to the same length as the broken stalk. I usually save the tough ends in the freezer and use them to make soup.
A little steaming softens the stalks just enough to easily spear with the skewer. A quick way way to steam your asparagus is to wrap the cleaned, trimmed spears in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Using two skewers spaced a bit apart to make an asparagus “raft” makes it easier to turn them on the grill and keeps them from falling through the grates.
Again, as with the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, brush with a little oil to prevent sticking. Cooking time is just 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the stalks. Flip once during cooking.
So stick with me, kid. Grilled vegetables are awesome.