Thursday, June 24, 2010
Throughout the year, we love to grill. My husband will dig paths through the snow to get to the grill during the winter so we can have lamb chops or a juicy steak. But during the summer, anything and everything goes onto the grill. It keeps the kitchen cooler and it's a fresh, simple way to prepare great meals. I have a number of grilling cookbooks that I love to flip through: Italian Grill by Mario Batali and BBQ USA and the Barbecue Bible, both by Steven Raichlen are at the top of my list.
All of my foodie magazines are full of grilling recipes at this time of year, so there's not shortage of new ideas to try. Veggies are one of my favorite things to throw on the 'cue. We grill asparagus, mushrooms, squash, peppers - you name it. We've even grilled bok choy. Usually they just get a little brush of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before they hit the heat. But this year I've noticed some more unusual veggie recipes in some magazines. I recently clipped one from Living that is a kebab of lamb and cucumbers. I've never had a grilled cuke, but add lamb and a feta tzatziki and I'm willing to try it. Another I found was in Bon Appetit for grilled vegetables with harissa dressing. I had to try it...
Harissa is a North Africa chili paste. I've made homemade for tagines, but on a recent trip to the Wine Library, I noticed a tube of it on the shelf. It went straight into my cart. It contains hot chili peppers and other flavors like garlic and coriander. The Bon Appetit called for harissa powder - I substituted the paste with no problems. According to BA, if you can't find the powder (or the paste), simply combine 2 teaspoons coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, 1 teaspoon each garlic, cumin and paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon paprika. My modified version of the recipe follows...
And if it sounds like a lot of veggies for two people, it is! But the leftovers were delish too. I also made a grilled veggie sandwich with some hummus. Yum!
Grilled vegetables with harissa dressing
adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2010 issue
1 red pepper, cut into 4 or 6 strips
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise
1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
3 Tbsp. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 tsp. harissa paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Arrange the vegetables on a large platter or baking sheet. Drizzle with the 3 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Grill on medium direct heat to desired doneness - typically just a couple minutes per side. Remove to a platter.
Whisk together the remaining oil, harissa and lemon juice. Pour some of the vinaigrette over the warm veggies and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Add extra vinaigrette as desired.
Note: for a spicier vinaigrette, add more harissa.