The Flavors of Summer

by —26 July 2019

Put some fruits & veggies on the grill

If you want to showcase the flavors of summer, throw some fruits and vegetables on the barbecue and enjoy the freshly grilled flavors. I first experienced grilled fruit at the San Francisco Farmers Market.

With blue skies, a light breeze and the Bay Bridge standing in the distance, I was quickly distracted by the smell of peaches caramelizing on a charcoal barbecue. The peach half with dark grill marks, drizzled with honey and topped with mint, was handed to me on a paper plate. Taking the first bite, I immediately stepped happily into summer.

Aside from peaches, think of throwing apple or pear slices painted with melted butter or olive oil, and sugared or salted, on a hot grate. Even with watermelon and honeydew melon, grilling brings caramelized notes, adding another dimension to fresh fruit. Sprinkle on a little salt and spritz with lime for a great complement to grilled steak, hot dogs or burgers.

When grilling fish, throw a lemon slice or halved lemon on the grill as the fish cooks. Grilling slightly tames the sour flavors. Or, better yet, place the slices on the fish and grill them together.

With vegetables, toss asparagus or sliced zucchini with a little olive oil and minced garlic along with a sprinkle of thyme or rosemary finished with a dusting of salt. Also, consider a dash of curry or cayenne for a little extra spice. Simply place on the grill and cook for a short time, enough to get nice grill marks.

This summer, turn on the grill not just for meat and fish, but for vegetables and fruits too.

 

GRILLED SALTED LIME, GOAT CHEESE, GREEK OLIVES ON GRILLED BREAD

Serves 4

8 slices multigrain artisan bread
1 clove garlic, halved
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 lime, peeled, thinly sliced
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. salt
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, about ½ c.
¼ c. seedless Greek olives, halved
Several chive stems, coarsely chopped

Preheat grill to high. Lightly oil grate. Rub both sides of bread with garlic and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Brush both sides of lime slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill bread until grill marks form, about 1 minute on each side. Grill lime until marks form, about 1 minute on each side. Spread grilled bread with goat cheese, top with lime slices and olives. Garnish with chives.

TIP: While I used crostini, use your imagination and try other bread, like an Italian olive bread or even a raisin pecan.

 

 

GRILLED ORANGE, DRIED APRICOT, MANCHEGO CROSTINI

Serves 4

8 slices multigrain artisan bread
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 Cara Cara orange, peeled, sliced
2 t. olive oil
½ t. salt
4 to 6 dried apricots
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces sliced Manchego
2 T. honey
Few sprigs of parsley, chopped

Preheat grill to high. Lightly oil grate. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Brush both sides of orange slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Brush apricots with olive oil. Grill bread until grill marks form, about 1 minute on each side. Grill orange and apricots until grill marks form, about 1 minute on each side. Place orange slices on bread. Top with Manchego and apricots. Drizzle with honey. Garnish with parsley.

TIP: Try new flavors by substituting Parmesan or Brie for the Manchego cheese.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE SALSA

Makes about 4 cups

Whole fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into thick slices
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. sugar diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
4 stalks green onion, coarsely chopped
Juice from lime half
Salt, to taste

Preheat grill to high. Lightly oil grate. Toss pineapple with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar. Grill pineapple until marks form, about 5 minutes. Flip and mark the other side, about 4 minutes. Cool pineapple. In a food processor, coarsely chop pineapple. In a bowl mix together pineapple, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, green onion, lime juice and salt, to taste.

TIP: For the salsa, the garlic, jalapeno, and green onions can also be grilled if you feel so inclined.

 

GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE SALAD WITH CAPER LEMON DRESSING

Serves 4

1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. capers, minced
1 T. mayonnaise
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 heads Romaine lettuce, bottoms trimmed, cut lengthwise
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. grated Parmesan

Preheat grill to high. Lightly oil grate. For the dressing, whisk together garlic, capers, mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside. Brush lettuce with olive oil. Lightly grill lettuce about 20 seconds on one side, flip and cook the other side for another 20 seconds. Place lettuce half on a plate. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with Parmesan.

TIP: With the Romaine salad, use anchovies instead of capers for a more traditional flavor.

 

GRILLED POTATOES & FENNEL SALAD

Serves 4

1/3 c. olive oil
3 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. sugar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound mini Yukon potatoes
1 t. salt
2 bulbs fennel, fronds removed, quartered with root end intact
6 stalks green onions, bottom and top trimmed
2 stalks celery, bottom and top trimmed
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high. Lightly oil grate. For the dressing, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Strain potatoes from water with a slotted spoon. Bring water back to a boil and blanch fennel for about 2 minutes. Remove fennel from water. Toss potatoes, fennel and green onions with oil and salt. Grill potatoes, fennel, green onions and celery until grill marks form, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cut potatoes in quarters. Cut off root bottom of fennel and discard, and then coarsely chop. Cut onions into ½ inch slices. In a bowl toss together potatoes, fennel, green onions, and some fronds with dressing. Garnish with fronds.

 

GRILLED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH STRAWBERRIES

Serves 4

2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. honey
1 ½ pounds Brussel sprouts
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 pint fresh strawberries, tops removed, quartered
½ c. pecan halves

Preheat grill to medium-high. Lightly oil grate. For the dressing, mix together vinegar, oil and honey. Set aside. In a bowl, toss Brussel sprouts with oil, balsamic and salt.  Place on grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Cut in quarters. In a bowl, toss Brussel sprouts with goat cheese, strawberries, pecans and dressing.

TIP: with the Brussels sprouts salad, substitute in other summer berries such as blackberries or blueberries or replace the strawberries with slices of grilled nectarine.

 

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