Nina’s Tips & Techniques Grill Master Series: Vegetables

When I try to grill vegetables they fall through the grill bars—help!

Our instinct as humans and as cooks is to cut things into the size we want to eat them in. But with grilled veggies, it is easier to cook them if they are cut into large pieces. THEN you can cut them into small pieces after they are cooked! I always cut my zucchini into big flat slabs or even into quarters lengthwise. Onions I cut in round and leave them intact so when they grill they are easy to flip with a spatula, and the layers insulate each other so they stay juicy. I cut peppers into big flat slabs or throw them on the grill whole, same with eggplant. Makes sense? So next time you grill veggies, the question should be “what shape is easiest to grill?” instead of “what shape is easiest to eat?” Once your veggies come off the heat chop them up into bite sizes.

Should I use one of those grill baskets when I make grilled vegetables?

I don’t prefer a grill basket. One of the common fails with this grill accessory is that people tend to overload them. They put a big huge batch of cut veggies in all sitting on top of each other and that creates a drop in temperature— which means soft, overcooked veggies with no color on them. I prefer the strategy I mentioned, above so you get really great grill lines on all your food and can cook everything quickly at a high temperature.

What’s the best way to grill corn?

There are lots of ways to grill corn—one of my FAVORITE summer grilling all-stars. Most of the time, I just shuck the corn, rub it with oil, salt and pepper, and put it right on a hot grill, turning every few minutes. This puts that lovely black color right on to the corn. For a more tender texture, remove a few layers of the outer husk. Peel back the inner husk and remove the silk, then pull the inner husk back up over the corn. Place it on the grill in these husks and it will slowly steam itself while still picking up some of that good grill flavor. After your corn is cooked you can eat it off the cob or cut it off and add it to a summer salad.

Recipe to try: Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad with Feta and Lemon