We’re well into summer and I know you’ve been grilling already.
Are you starting to get bored with the same old stuff? Chicken, burgers, steak, hot dogs, or sausages. It’s easy to get into a rut. If you find yourself wondering if there’s more to grilling than the old standbys, I’m here to answer with a resounding YES!!
Have you branched out yet to fish on the grill? I love salmon steak, but used to struggle with how to keep it from sticking. One day, I sliced a lemon into thin slices and laid them on the grill as a bed for the salmon. No more sticking! By the time you turn it, the steak will have cooked enough that the second side won’t stick so no need to try to make a new bed of lemon. Of course, if you have a fillet, leave it skin side down directly on the grill until the skin is nice and crispy. By the time the skin is crispy and releases easily from the grill, the fillet will be cooked and won’t require turning.
Shrimp takes no time on the grill. I love to marinate it and then put it on skewers. For 1 ½ lbs of cleaned shrimp, combine 1 T olive oil, 5 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 cup of orange juice, zest from 1 orange, and several sprigs worth of fresh rosemary leaves. Add the shrimp, cover, and stick in the fridge for an hour. They will only take 2-3 minutes per side on the grill, and having them on skewers makes them easy to flip quickly.
For me, though, the real stars of the summer grill are vegetables. There are all kinds of vegetables that turn out great. You’re probably familiar with squash and eggplant. Maybe you’ve even roasted a sweet red pepper on the grill. Those are all good options. As far as I’m concerned, pretty much any vegetable can get a little rub or drizzle of olive oil and go right on the grill. Some people like to also add salt to the veggies before grilling. I tend to add salt later if I’m in the mood for it.
Here is a list of things I love on the grill that maybe you haven’t tried.
- Butternut squash. I don’t even peel it. Just cut into rounds (scrape the seeds off the inside) and put them directly on the grill. When they’re done, top them with fresh ricotta, chopped sage, and toasted pine nuts. It’s heavenly.
- Green cabbage. Yeah, no kidding. Slice it into wedges (leave the core in because it helps hold it together on the grill), drizzle with a little olive oil and grill it over med-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side. It softens but still has a bit of bite to it, and it gets incredibly sweet. It’s so much better than you imagine it might be.
- Broccoli and cauliflower florets become crispy goodness on the grill.
- Fava beans. Put the pods on the grill whole, about 4-5 minutes per side. They’ll pop out of their skins like edamame and are luscious and creamy.
- Corn on the cob. OK, so this one doesn’t get olive oil. I soak the ears, husks and all, in a pan of water for about 30 minutes and then put them on the grill, turning a ¼ turn every 5 minutes. Once they’re done, the husk and silk comes off easily.
- And fruit! Peel a pineapple, slice it into rounds and put directly on the grill. You can thank me later.
If you find yourself with leftover grilled veggies, you have the makings for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll use a roll or good bread, add a smear of pesto, then grilled squash, eggplant, sweet red pepper, feta cheese or fresh mozzarella, and I have a gourmet sandwich.
I hope this inspires you to try something new. There are so many options out there, and to be honest, veggies from the grill just taste better. So go to the farmers market, load up your bags, and treat yourself to a whole new world of grilling.