This time of year it’s easier than ever to move beyond the burger with a side of grilled corn on the cob. Bye burgers and hello tacos! Take advantage of all the fresh veggies available at your local farmers market and let them shine as the main course at your BBQ!
We love these dazzling summer BBQ recipes from this article by Mark Bittman for GQ Magazine; here are a few of our favorites. But of course, we’d recommend swapping out the grilled cheese for a grilled avocado sandwich!
You Haven’t Had a Taco Until You’ve Had a Grilled Taco
Cook everything on medium direct heat and go to town.
Tortillas: toasted right over the flame.
Sweet onions: thickly sliced, then grilled until browned.
Poblano peppers: charred, peeled, and seeded.
Cherry tomatoes: cooked on skewers until blistered.
Radishes: brushed with oil, salted, grilled on a perforated pan until browned, then chopped.
Potatoes: thickly sliced, brushed with oil, seasoned with chili powder, grilled until tender.
Avocados: halved, pitted, brushed with oil, and charred.
Limes: halved and browned flesh side down. Then squeezed over tacos. (And also into margaritas.)
Set Your Salad on Fire (and Other Ways to Grill Your Greens)
Leafy green vegetables are not just okay on the grill; they are utterly transformed. Almost all greens can take the heat, and each responds to it a little differently. The best kale chips you will ever taste are the ones you grill yourself, brushed lightly with olive oil and crisped over a medium flame. Romaine lettuce becomes the foundation for a deluxe Caesar when grilled, splashed with oil and lemon juice, and showered with salt. Broccoli rabe is good that way, too. The list goes on. Experiment and see.
Feed a Crowd for a Night (or Yourself for a Weekend)
Paella originated in the Valencia region of Spain, where it’s obsessed over like pizza in Naples. Every “real” paella, the locals will tell you, is cooked over a live fire to get a bottom crust (known as socarrat) that is worth fighting over.
To make it, pre-grill veggies—for example, zucchini, onion, tomato, and red bell pepper—over high heat, just until charred. (You don’t need to cook them through.) Then put a big sauté pan with a heatproof handle on your grill and add a generous layer of olive oil; pour in 2 cups of good short-grain rice and stir; add 1 Tbsp. each of cumin and paprika and, if you’re feeling flush, a big pinch of saffron. Don’t forget salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover the rice by about 1/2 inch; bring to a boil and stir frequently for about 10 minutes. Chop those grilled vegetables and add them. Continue to cook until the water is almost absorbed. Taste. If the rice is just about tender, continue to cook without stirring until the mixture is almost dry and the bottom lightly charred; if it’s not, add a little more water and continue.
Whip Up the Right Kind of Grilled Cheese
No, this isn’t a sandwich: It’s a warm, gooey, oozy slab of cheese. For a vaguely Greek starter so good you’ll consider tripling the recipe and eating it as an entrée, take an inch-thick hunk of halloumi (a relative of feta) and grill it directly over a medium-to-hot fire for 5 to 10 minutes per side until well browned. Meanwhile, reduce 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar until syrupy; drizzle it over the cheese and sprinkle liberally with pomegranate seeds.
Make Your Grill Bear Fruit
Grilling brings fruit to its full potential, and fruit does likewise for your grill. Melons become steak-y. Berries melt in your mouth. It’s a true alchemy.
Grill all fruit over a medium direct fire. Develop color, then remove before it gets mushy.
The way to cook pitted peaches, plums, apricots, or nectarines is with a ginger simple syrup (just like the regular kind, but after simmering 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir in 2 inches thinly sliced ginger and the zest of 1 orange and let cool). Brush the flesh with syrup. Grill.
Quarter pineapple to create flat surfaces of flesh. Brush with ginger syrup (see above) before grilling.
Toss berries with sugar to coat lightly. Grill on a perforated pan, turning them once. Cut them in half over a bowl to catch the juice. Toss with a splash of amaretto and dollop with whipped cream.
Cut seedless melon into inch-thick wedges. Brush with honey, then grill.
Make pineapple piña colada-ish by garnishing with toasted coconut. Scatter berries with a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds. Slather melon with lightly sweetened mascarpone, scented with lime zest. If this stuff were any more virtuous, it wouldn’t be dessert.
For more health tips and helpful articles, check out our School of Wellness!