Grilled Tomatoes & Corn (Classics)
Two - Classically Simple
Simple grilled vegetables are perfect all by themselves. They can be the main course for dinner, but are also great for lunch or as a side dish. We can certainly continue to be carnivores after a meal of grilled vegetables, but perhaps if the vegans did more to promote eating vegetables that visited the grill they would garner themselves additional converts.
Two of the best are tomatoes and corn. It is surprising how well they go together. They are a good team to start with in setting out to pursue the theme of veggies on the grill.
The time involved is minimal, which only adds to the attraction of putting these two on the grill and then on our plate. Preparation time is virtually zero, and time on the grill is surprisingly little.
Let's start with the tomatoes.
Tomatoes on the vine
Of course, the tomatoes from your own garden are perfect for this.
These are store-bought tomatoes on the vine, which were on sale. Heirloom tomatoes are expensive if you buy them in a store, but they come in many different shapes and colors; they add variety and are worth the effort periodically.
But in truth, all types of tomatoes are improved by grilling; the flames work to enhance flavor.
Here, too, you can use just about any type of corn.
Delicious ears of corn are in abundance when the crop comes in in early summer. Ears can be had for as low as 10 for a dollar on occasion. Buy them and grill them! White, yellow -- it doesn't matter if all we are looking for is something delicious.
And grilling is such a simple way to make corn beautiful. No water to boil, just put the corn right on the grill. There are lots of cookbooks that have you wrap foil around the ears or cook the ears in the husk. Those are all good methods, too, but it is simpler just to plop them right on the grill, naked.
On the grill
The tomatoes cook more quickly than the corn. The tomatoes need only be turned over once. The corn needs four turns so that all sides are grilled.
The best way to deal with the disparity between cooking times is to put the tomatoes on the top rack and the corn on the bottom
The tomatoes will still cook faster, but this slows them down a bit. Just two or three minutes on each side for the tomatoes.
Turn the corn regularly every two or three minutes.
Ready for the table
Some people prefer to leave them on a little longer, until the grill stripes appear.
That can be good, but you don't want to grill the tomatoes too long or they lose their structure and can even require a spatula to remove them from the grill. Better, in my view, to be make sure we can remove them with tongs.
They are mouthwatering. They can be eaten directly with the corn. You can also set a couple aside to use in salads or to accompany other main courses. You can also grill a separate batch (or three) for use in making pasta sauce, with lots of garlic, EVOO, and herbs.
For EVOO, may we suggest that for further edification you click here.
I could have removed these earlier and they still would have been great.
I like to leave them on a little longer, however, to enhance the color, even at the expense of a little charring of the tops of a number of kernels.
Whichever you choose, the result is delicious. You can eat them just like this, dribble on some EVOO, use butter and salt, mix mayo and hot sauce or mayo and mustard. You can't miss.
Tomatoes appear in so many of our other grilling adventures, that here we will concentrate on corn -- or maize as so many in the world call it ("sweet corn" in the UK).
Think Olmec and Mayan, ancient New World civilizations of high development existing and flourishing long before Cristoforo Colombo arrived from outer space. The point of botanical origin appears to be the Tehuacan Valley in southern Mexico. Wow, does this go far back, maybe as far even as 9,000 years ago. From there these civilizations eventually ported maize to many other parts of Latin America.
When Europeans invaded, of course, one of the prizes they brought back with them -- far more valuable than gold -- was corn, which unlike gold can be reproduced again and again and which can be transported to other parts of the world and grown there. Which is exactly what happened. We live in a world of corn, though perhaps its most faithful users are still here in the New World, and in millions of New World kitchens and backyard barbecues. We are following in a great tradition here.
Amazingly, today 40% of the world's gigantic production of maize is for ethanol. Instead of going into the maws of hogs, that of course goes into the tanks of our cars. Another way in which maize is disassociated from food is that the starch it contains can be made into plastics, fabrics, adhesives, and a number of other chemical products.
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.