When it comes to grilling, vegetables too often get short shrift. It’s the go-to cooking method for meat and poultry in the summer. But people don’t realize that grilling works the same magic on vegetables. It’s easy, delicious and minimal work. What’s more, grilled vegetables taste terrific at room temperature, so you can cook them ahead of time freeing up the grill for steak, burgers or chicken when the party has started.
Just about any vegetable you can think of can be grilled. Eggplant, peppers, summer squash, red onion, leeks, scallions, asparagus, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes are all great candidates for the grill. Other choices that might not immediately come to mind are artichokes, radicchio, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.
Slice a medley of vegetables into same-sized pieces so that they cook evenly, but not so small that they slip through the grill grates. Put them in a big bowl and toss with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking and garlic, kosher salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, flavor the oil with herbs, hot peppers or citrus zest. Use medium heat to give the veggies time to cook without blackening on the outside. A sided grill pan is a worthy investment. It helps prevent the vegetables from burning and shriveling and makes it a whole lot easier to turn them. The exception to the rule is eggplant. Slice them lengthwise or into rounds, at least 1/3 inch thick and use direct heat.