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Summer grilling tips

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Everyone has their favorite grill recipes, which usually involve meats and marinades. Don’t skimp on the veggies this summer with these tips and recipes.

Grilled citrus

Charring the cut side of a lemon or lime adds a smoky flavor when squeezed over grilled meats, fish, or vegetables. You can also use the grilled citrus as the acid in a vinaigrette that will have more depth than a typical citrus vinaigrette.

Grilled lemon vinaigrette

Serves four


2–3 lemons, cut in half

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Place lemons, cut side down, on a hot grill. Remove when nicely charred. When cool, squeeze out the juice into a small bowl. Add the mustard and whisk together. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil, until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled tomatoes

Summer is the season to enjoy ripe, farm-fresh tomatoes. So as to not lose all the juices and great flavor, try grilling tomatoes in a foil packet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Use as a bruschetta topping, to make a smoky salsa, toss with pasta, or use anywhere you would use regular tomatoes.

Grilled tomato bruschetta

Serves four


1 pint grape tomatoes

4 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for grilling

1 pinch red pepper flake

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

1/2 whole baguette, sliced

DIRECTIONS: Cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise. Prepare two foil packets using aluminum foil. Place tomatoes inside each, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Close the foil pouch and grill on a medium hot grill for about 18 minutes, or until the tomatoes burst and release their juices. When slightly cooled, put tomatoes into a bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, minced garlic, sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Tear the basil leaves with your hands and add to the bowl. Mix gently until combined. Top each slice of baguette with a heaping mound of tomato mixture.

Cut to grill

When grilling vegetables, make sure to slice them properly. For quicker, more even cooking, make sure to cut veggies in large pieces that will expose more of the surface to the grill. Instead of chunks, cut eggplants, zucchini, or summer squash into rounds or thick slices lengthwise.

How long to grill veggies?

Similar to roasting or blanching, some vegetables simply take longer than others (potatoes vs. asparagus, for example) on the grill.

To get perfect vegetables on the grill, toss them in oil, salt and pepper, then sear on the grill over high heat. Once they are nicely charred, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking the insides.

Grilled eggplant and portobello mushroom burgers

Serves four


1 medium eggplant

4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 whole-wheat buns or English Muffins

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

Your favorite burger toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Season eggplants and mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle oil on both sides of the eggplants and mushrooms. On a hot grill, place a single layer of the eggplant and mushrooms. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until dark grill marks appear. If the vegetables are getting to dark and aren’t cooked through, transfer to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. When cooked through, transfer to a platter and drizzle with vinegar and oil. Assemble burgers.

Grilled desserts

Make room on the grill for dessert. Try pineapple, peaches, grapefruit, bananas, or watermelon straight on the grill and your favorite berries in a foil pouch.

Grilled peaches with ricotta yogurt and honey

Serves four


4 peaches, halved & pitted

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup greek yogurt

Honey, for drizzling

1 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS: In a bowl, mix together ricotta and yogurt. Brush the cut side of each peach with olive oil. Over a medium-hot grill, place the peaches, cut side down. Grill for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened and lightly charred. Remove peaches to a platter. Fill each peach half with ricotta yogurt. Drizzle with honey and serve.

Chef Jenny Gensterblum is executive chef at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School.

Updated 4:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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