Ten Chefs' Tips for Grilling Vegetables
The top chefs know the secrets when it comes to grilling vegetables. These ten tips will help you grill vegetables restaurant style. From asparagus to green onions, squash, tomatoes and lettuce, vegetables are just better with that fire roasted flavor.
1. The Fire
While most American backyard cooks cook on a gas grill, which is fine, it doesn't produce a smoky flavor. That can be easily remedied with a smoker tray, a small metal box that can be filled with damp wood chips, such as mesquite, and placed in the bottom of the BBQ.
If you're cooking the old fashioned way, with wood or charcoal, you'll need a good, hot bed of coals and ash to grill your vegetables on. Flames will burn the vegetables before they are cooked.
2. Flavor the Fire
Herbs produce an aromatic smoke that will actually flavor the foods. Try placing a few sprigs of rosemary on the fire.
3. Make Sure Vegetables Are Crisp
Whatever you're placing on the grill, starting off with fresh, crisp vegetables are a must. Give them an ice water bath just before grilling to perk them up.
4. Infuse Flavor
Almost all vegetables taste even better with just a hint of garlic. Baste vegetables lightly with a garlic infused olive oil just before cooking for that roasted garlic flavor.
5. Baste With More Flavor
Tie herbs, such as rosemary and thyme to your basting brush. The heat from the grill release the flavor of the herbs into the oil or sauce you are using.
6. Spice It Up
For a spicy, smoked flavor, sprinkle a little ground cayenne, or your favorite pepper over the vegetables while they are cooking.
7. Go Easy
Season lightly with salt. The vegetables will be infused with so much flavor, that a lot of salt just won't be necessary.
8. Take it Slow
Slow roasting is the key to great flavor. Make sure that vegetables are over heat, but not flame. You want them to pick up all those wonderful flavors you are working so hard to produce.
9. Fresh Matters
While you can grill some frozen vegetables, the results just won't be the same. Use fresh, preferably purchased the same day for the best results. Also, use the freshest herbs and seasonings available.
10. Brighten it up
A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice once the food is taken off the grill will brighten the flavors.
Nicely browned, a few char marks, and al dente, or with a bite, is the texture that you are trying to achieve. Overcooking will either leave you with a pile of mush, or worse, burnt and inedible vegetables. Watch them, move them around on the grill if needed. Grilled vegetables can stand alone, and are also great with a lemon garlic butter, or a classic aioli.
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