Looking for a healthier option for your 4th of July barbeque this year? Consider taking a crack at a recipe in award-winning author Steven Raichlen’s latest book How to Grill Vegetables (Workman Publishing). With 31 books on barbecuing and grilling, eight reality cooking shows and five James Beard Awards and three IACP-Julia Child Awards, Raichlen is nothing short of a barbeque master. His newest work covers a verifiable smorgasbord of mouth-watering veggie dishes that are perfect for backyard barbeques on the 4th of July. Definitely go check out his full book if either of the following recipes catch your eye.
Wood-Grilled BruschettaWith Fire-Blistered Tomatoes and Ricotta
Prep time: 10 minutesGrilling time: 6 to 7 minutes
- Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of red and yellow
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or other fresh herbs (ie tarragon or basil leaves)
- Coarse salt
- Black pepper
- 4 slices of rustic country-style bread (each slice should be 6 to 8 inches long, 4 inches wide and ¾ inch thick)
- 8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
- Set up your grill for direct grilling. Have one hot zone, one medium-hot zone,and a fire-free safety zone in case the bread starts to burn. If enhancing a charcoal fire, add the wood chunks or chips to the coals; if enhancing a gas fire, place the chunks or chips in your grill’s smoker box or place chunks under the grate directly over one or more burners. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well. Note: If using a vegetable grilling grid, place it on the grill to preheat (no need to preheat a grill basket).
- Place the cherry tomatoes in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in 1½ tablespoons chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Tip the tomatoes into the heated vegetable grilling grid or a grilling basket.
- Grill the tomatoes over the hot zone, stirring or shaking the basket occasionally, until the skins begin to blacken and split, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Lightly brush the bread slices with the olive oil on both sides. Arrange the bread on the grate over the medium-hot zone and grill until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. If you’re feeling fancy, give each slice a quarter turn on both sides halfway through to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks.
- Remove the bread from the grill and then, protecting your hand with a cloth napkin, spread one side of each slice with ricotta. Place the bruschetta on a platter and top with the grilled tomatoes. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Double-Grilled Summer Vegetable Frittata
Prep time: 15 minutes. Grill time: 6 to 10 minutes for the vegetables, plus 20 minutes for the frittata
Ingredients: For the vegetables:
- 4 cups diced vegetables (any or all of the following):
- Asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and quartered (halved if mushrooms are small)
- Zucchini, cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
- Yellow squash, cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
- Red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice
- 4 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
For the frittata:
- 8 large eggs, preferably organic
- 1¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons thinly slivered or chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, sage, and/or other herbs (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
- Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high (or build a wood fire). If using a grill wok, preheat it as well.
- Prepare the vegetables: Place the veggies, including the scallions, in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a frill basket or add to preheated grill wok or grilling grid. Don’t overcrowd the grill basket: You may need to work in several batches. Grill, stirring often, until the vegetables are darkly browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. The vegetables can be grilled ahead or at a previous grill session.
- Make the frittata: Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and lightly beat with a whisk or fork. Stir in 1 cup grated cheese, the herbs, grilled vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the cast-iron skillet over the side burner on your grill or on your stovetop. Swirl the ban to butter the sides. Add the egg mixture and cook without stirring until the bottom starts to set, about 2 minutes.
- Move the skillet off the burner and add onto the grill grate, away from direct heat (you’ll be indirect grilling from here on out). If enhancing a charcoal fire, add the wood chunks or chips to the coals; if enhancing a gas fire, place the chunks or chips in your grill’s smoker box or place chunks under the grate directly over one of the burners. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Close the grill lid.
- Cook the frittata until the eggs are set and the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. (To test for doneness, insert a bamboo skewer in the center of the frittata: It should come out clean.) Remove the skillet from the grill and let it rest for 3 minutes. Run the tip of a slender paring knife around the inside rim of the skillet. Place a large heatproof plate or platter on top. While holding the plate firmly against the skillet’s rim, carefully invert the skillet and plate, giving the former a little shake to loosen the frittata. Lift the skillet: Ideally, the frittata will come loose on the plate. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cut into wedges and serve at once.
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