As much as I enjoy the hearty braises of winter, I get most inspired in the summer months, when I can throw a handful of fresh ingredients onto the grill and have a deliciously simple dinner in no time.
Grilled vegetables are a staple in our house (replaced by roasted vegetables when it gets too cold and dark at night to use the grill). The beauty of this recipe is that it isn’t really a recipe at all, but merely guidelines to create your own version at home, using whatever vegetables you have on hand or that looked good at the farmer’s market.
I like to serve the vegetables straight up, as a salad, but you can also pile them high on thick slices of grilled sourdough or fold into a steaming bowl of pasta. My kids, who are by no means terrific eaters, will make a meal of the latter, though more often than not they will leave the mushrooms and squash on their plates. That’s okay with me. Some adults do that, too.
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Serves 4 to 6
3 portobello caps
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large planks
4 small tomatoes
2 small Vidalia onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch planks
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch plans
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Set grill to high heat. In a large bowl combine Portobello caps with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grill and cook until browned and softened, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining vegetables, tossing each with 1 tablespoon oil and seasoning generously with salt and pepper. When all vegetables are cooked, set aside on a baking sheet to cool.
When cool enough to handle, cut vegetables into 2-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, and basil. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.