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From the garden straight to the grill

From the garden straight to the grill

May 26 2016

Just-picked flavor is what’s hot today. And it doesn’t get any fresher than homegrown. Here are easy-to-grow favorites that only get better when cooked on your backyard grill Now’s the time to plant!

Each of these backyard vegetables take on a darker, richer flavor with the smoke and caramelizing that occurs when flame-cooked. Remember not to overcook any of them—you want to cook them over high heat, charring them, but allow them to retain a slight crunchiness. Before grilling, brush or toss with olive oil to enhance flavor and to retain moisture.

Slice the long way for ease of cooking or place in a special BBQ pan designed just for grilling.

Best-for-the-Grill

Eggplant

Couldn’t be simpler to grill. Brush half-inch thick rounds with olive oil directly on the grill. Season with kosher salt. Cook till grill marks form and flesh is gray.

Onion

The ultimate grilling companion for all other veggies.

Peppers 

There are lots of companions for peppers and with the skins charred, they taste even better.

Corn

Pull husks down and remove the silk. Place husks back up, soak in salted water for 10 minutes, then grill for 15 minutes with the lid closed, turning often. Simple. Perfect.

Tomatoes

Cut tomatoes in half and season with kosher salt, fresh-ground pepper and brush with olive oil. Cook cut side down in a vegetable basket until slightly charred. Before serving, brush again with oil, give a splash of balsamic vinegar and top with chopped fresh basil.

Yellow Squash and Zucchini 

Place long slices right on the grill after brushing with olive oil and a mixture of fresh herbs.

The Edible Patio

Smaller-growing vegetable plants are the latest trend allowing anyone to grow veggies regardless of space. Gardeners with small spaces are learning to grow vertically. All vining cucurbits (cucumbers, squash) and melons can be trained on trellises, obelisks or tripods made with wooden stakes.

There are many edibles that grow well in containers. Tomatoes (determinate types won’t need support), peppers, lettuce, and herbs are some of the best. Bush beans are excellent in containers and pole beans on tripods become interesting and beautiful features.

Grow fresh grilling seasonings, too

Since your vegetable ingredients will be straight-from-the-backyard, why not use just as fresh seasonings, too? Here are chef’s favorites for summer grilling. With fresh herbs, flavor is always livelier and prettier to look at, too.

Rosemary

Rich, piney scent; earthy flavor. Sprigs are beautiful charred.

Thyme

Musty and savory—especially good on vegetables.

Tarragon 

Sweet and savory at the same time, with just a hint of perfume.

Oregano 

Combine with lemon and olive oil to accompany tomatoes and meats. Fresh oregano is milder than dried.

Chives 

Charred or not, chives add beautiful texture to the appearance of foods and wonderful, soft, oniony flavor.

Dill 

Another beautiful herb when grilled. Lay smoked or charred veggies on a bed of grilled dill for a subtle infusion of flavor.

“Article courtesy of Armstrong Garden Centers

 

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