1/2-inch steaks from a head of cauliflower, then grill
over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes per side.
on the bright side: What with global warming sending our
poor, precious planet into a hellbound death spiral, and
summerís newly blistering temperatures turning your
kitchen into Satanís sauna, this is the perfect
opportunity for you to spend a little more time outside at
the grill. So grab your tongs, Prep Schoodents, and letís
grill us some vegetables.
YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS
youíre a werewolf, you canít just be grilling meat all
the time. And even if you are a werewolf, you must have at
least a couple human friends who you might want to have for
dinner. (Or rather, have over for dinner.) Or, lycanthropy
aside, perhaps you eschew the bloody victuals altogether,
opting instead for what our vegan friends at Mercy For
Animals (Look them up!) refer to as a plant-based diet. If
any of these holds close enough to true, I suggest hieing
down to your local farmers market, picking up an armload of
beautiful, fresh vegetables, and then firing up the grill.
STEPS YOU TAKE
that the grilling of vegetables is not an impenetrable
mystery like the true identity of Jack the Ripper or the
whereabouts of D.B. Cooper. All weíre doing is applying
heat, just like in the kitchen. The principles are the same.
Once you come to terms with that, the main thing to think
about ó and youíve got to think about this with meat,
too ó is whether your vegetables will work better with
direct heat or indirect heat.
particularly charcoal grills, tend to be very, very hot.
Thatís why theyíre perfect for relatively thin items
like steaks, because the interior cooks quickly, before the
surface gets overly charred. If an item is very thick, on
the other hand, when the outside is perfect, the inside will
still be raw. Likewise, by the time the inside is properly
cooked, the outside will look like the side of Mrs. OíLearyís
those larger pieces of meat or vegetables, indirect heat in
a covered grill works just like your oven.
couple more general things: First, grill marks. If your
vegetables are cut into long, thin, oblong planks (as
opposed to rounds), lay them on the grill at a 45-degree
angle to the grate. After grill marks develop (gently lift
an edge to peek), rotate 90 degrees to create a
great-looking cross-hatched pattern. After you flip the
vegetables, no need to rotate because thatís the side that
will be down.
make sure to oil your grate or your vegetables to keep them
from sticking. If you use an oil-based marinade, thatíll
probably be enough.
letís take a look at a few vegetables:
One of my faves for grilling. Peel them or not, then cut
into circular cross sections or lengthwise planks. Then, you
could just brush the slices with oil or drop them into a
tasty marinade for just a bit. Eggplant is pretty much a
vegetative sponge and will soak up whatever marinade youíre
using. If it soaks up too much, itíll get soggy and nasty,
two of my least favorite qualities in grilled vegetables.
Just go for a couple of minutes, and itíll be lovely.
squash. Zucchini, yellow squash, golden zucchini. Cut
half-inch slices on the bias or lengthwise, marinate for up
to 20 minutes, then grill two to three minutes per side. You
could also toss them with a little marinade or spice rub
before or after you grill to make them even yummier.
skinny green things. Asparagus. Green beans. Scallions. All
of these work well on the grill. Marinate them if you want,
or, if youíre in a hurry, just throw them directly onto
the grill, directly over the heat. And, just to pre-empt any
of you crazies who write in to say that you burned all your
veggies because they fell onto the coals: Make sure those
long skinny green things are at a 90-degree angle to the
grate so they donít slip through.
Cut half-inch "steaks" lengthwise through the core
ó you can get two or three per head ó then marinate and
grill over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes per side. Or, break
the head into florets (or use the extra florets from cutting
out the steaks), toss with a marinade and wrap in aluminum
foil. Grill until done, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Or,
and this is my favorite, trim the core but leave the head
intact, paint with melted butter and Parmesan or your
favorite marinade, and wrap in aluminum foil. Grill,
covered, using indirect heat, for 45 minutes to an hour.
When you unwrap it, and itís sitting there, slightly
charred and steaming, you can tell your kids that itís a
barbecued human brain.
on the cob. Pull husk most of the way down the ear and
remove the silk. Return the husk and soak in cold water for
15 to 20 minutes. Place ears directly on the grate. Grill,
covered, for about 15 minutes, turning every 3 to 5 minutes
as the husk starts to blacken. Let it cool a bit before
removing the husk to avoid getting burned by the steam.
tomatoes and bell peppers. Cut in half and lay directly over
the flame. Flip after a couple of minutes to get some char
on the other side. Marinate or not, as you see fit.
vegetables. Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes or cut pieces of any
of the above. Thread them onto soaked wooden skewers (to
prevent burning), season or marinate, then grill until you
get a little color, turning often.
FOR YOUR GRILLED VEGGIES
first three can be used as marinades, too.
cham. This ubiquitous Vietnamese condiment is easy to make
and delicious. Combine equal amounts of fish sauce, water
and fresh lime juice. Sweeten lightly with sugar and give it
a kick with sliced jalapenos or crushed red pepper.
Pulse fresh herbs in a blender with red wine vinegar or
sherry vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes and a touch of
dipping sauce. Combine a quarter cup each of water and soy
sauce with an ounce of sugar, a couple tablespoons each of
minced garlic and ginger and a tablespoon of sesame oil.
Stir some crushed garlic into some mayo. How much garlic?
How bad is the vampire problem in your neighborhood? You can
also make it Asian style by mixing in wasabi or miso for a
Japanese flavor, or gochujang, ssamjang or doenjang for a
Korean accent or sesame oil for Chinese flavors. Or whisk in
some pesto. Or harissa for a North African flavor.