Get Wild and Grill More Than Meat
And no, we don't just mean kabobs.
September 9, 2020 ● 1 min read
By Priya Krishna | Collage ChefsFeed
Sure, when you think of grilling, juicy burgers and sizzling steaks are often the first things that come to mind.
But what about a whole zucchini, a peach, a pizza? Too long relegated to the kabob, vegetables deserve a spot on the 'cue main stage. There are countless ingredients that morph into something otherworldly thanks to the magical grate of the grill, no meat required: Give the butcher a break and throw a few new things over the flames, as suggested by chefs who know a thing or two.
Zucchini. Forget zoodles: these delicate squash can handle more than you think. “The key is to get a quick char at high heat before reducing the temperature of the grill to really develop the sweetness of the vegetable,” says Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef of Ponte in Los Angeles. “They don’t need much flavoring as the smoke flavors come through.”
Pizza. Throw your pie dough on a pizza stone and place it on the grill for a nice char and roast-y crust. That char pairs extra great with the basics: fresh, bright toppings like tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.
Tomatoes. Looking to upgrade your tomato sauce? Jordan Andino of 2nd City in New York City recommends charring the tomatoes on the grill first. Dress them in oil and pureed garlic before they hit the heat, he says, and “the flavor that develops is unparalleled.”
Fruit. Thanks to science wizardry, heat brings out an incredible, caramelized juiciness in fruits. “Charred watermelon, peaches, and pineapple make amazing desserts in the summer with ice cream, or with warm spices as an appetizer at a cookout,” recommends Jenn Louis, chef/owner of Ray in Portland.
Avocado. The cult of the avocado is well-established by now, but there's an extra step you could take towards avo-nirvana: Grill your avocado half before throwing it into a sandwich, salad, or dip, and you’ll amplify the flavor tenfold, adding a nice, smoky finish.