Still on the preparations for the official grilling weekend, here are brilliant ideas for grilled veggies and fruits. You will love them! All from top chef Mark Bittman:
- Best grilled artichokes: Cut artichokes in half, scoop out the choke, parboil until tender. Grill, cut-side down, until lightly browned; grill a couple of halved lemons, too. Combine the juice from the grilled lemons with melted butter and spoon over the artichokes. Finish with parsley.
- Tahini tofu steaks. Thin tahini with lots of lemon juice and some minced garlic. Cut a brick of firm tofu into four slabs and brush with sesame oil. Grill over a moderate fire, turning a few times, until marked and crisp outside and custardy inside. On the last turn, baste with the tahini sauce. Serve on thick tomato slices with a drizzle of soy sauce and chopped basil, Thai if possible.
- Spice-rubbed carrots: Roll peeled carrots in cumin, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Char, then move them away from direct heat and cover the grill until carrots are tender.
- Brush slices of beet with olive oil and grill slowly until tender and lightly browned. Top each slice with a little goat cheese and salad greens.
- For perfectly ripe tomatoes only: Grill tomatoes, any size, until hot and lightly charred but not bursting. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve with fresh mozzarella (or, even better, burrata) and grilled bread.
- Halve and grill radicchio (or Belgian endives); drizzle cut sides with honey or plain vinaigrette, pesto or parsley pesto. Or just brush with oil and finish with a little grilled prosciutto.
- Grill corn. Serve with mayo with minced garlic, pimentón and parsley.
- Rub thick zucchini slices with a mixture of fresh or dried dill, yogurt, olive oil and lemon. (Or use pesto or parsley pesto.) Grill slowly.
- Halve Belgian endives. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill over moderate-to-low heat, turning once or twice, until soft and browned. Finish cut-side up and sprinkle with grated Parmesan; close the grill to melt cheese.
- Lightly char whole or halved heads of baby bok choy; drizzle with soy sauce and top with chopped scallions.
- Waldorf salad revisited, sort of: Grill cut apples until browned but not mushy; grill chunks of Napa or savoy cabbage, also left crisp; grill halved red onion. Chop or shred all together with blue cheese, walnuts and a little yogurt.
- Cut a slit in as many ripe figs as you like; stuff with herbed goat cheese (or cream cheese mixed with chopped nuts) and grill slowly. Appetizer or dessert? Your call. - Grill red, orange and/or yellow peppers; toss with olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Quick grilled pickle: Rapidly char thick slices of cucumber; toss with salt, vinegar and sugar; let sit for 15 minutes, then drain.
- Charred salsa verde. Toss whole husked tomatillos, scallions and jalapeños in olive oil and grill until charred. Remove the blackened skin from the chilies and chop or blend everything with diced avocado, lime juice and cilantro. Eat with chips or top grilled chicken with it.