Chez Montier's End of Summer Vegetable Grill Fest
Extend your outdoor summer fun with a Veggie Grill Fest! Most of us love to grill, but some of us have challenges grilling vegetables. They often fall through the grates, are improperly cooked and never have enough smoke flavor. Let’s take the mystery out of grilling some of our favorite vegetables like: sweet peppers, carrots, onion, zucchini, squash, corn and asparagus.
Before you begin your vegetable prep, moisten hickory and mesquite wood chips in a bowl with a minimal amount of water and let sit. The reason we only use a small amount of water is because the brown liquid that is leached out is flavor.
When preparing the vegetables cut them into the appropriate size. You want to make sure you cut them so that they are too large to fall through the grill grate and into the cinders. For example, cut the peppers and carrots into quarters from pole to pole. Cut the onions into flat planks about ¼“ thick and use a skewer to hold the rings together. Cut the zucchini and squash into flat planks about ¼“ thick. Trim the ends of the corn and asparagus but leave them whole.
Next, completely coat the veggies with vegetable oil. This keeps the food from sticking to the grate and helps to promote browning. Then, season the vegetables liberally using salt, pepper and herbs like, fresh thyme, fresh oregano and fresh basil. Finally, sprinkle your veggies with a little white sugar to promote caramelization. This will intensify the look of the much desired “grill marks.”
Set you grill up for “indirect” cooking. Put coals on only half of the grate, the hot zone, and leave the coals off of the other side, the cooler zone. Light the coals and allow them to burn until there is a coating of ash on all of the coals. This step ensures that there is NO residual lighting fuel left to alter with the flavor of your food.
To get started liberally oil the grill grate. Place the veggies over the direct heat to mark them. Once the desired charring is obtained, move them to the other side of the grill, the cool zone, to indirect “hot smoke” them to the correct doneness. Make sure to arrange the vegetables to maximize the exposed surface area. Sprinkle the damp hickory and mesquite wood chip blend over the hot coals and replace the top to smoke for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Once smoked remove the veggies from the grill and place them on your best summer platter. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite fresh herbs.
Enhance your dining experience by adding a summer Rosé sangria, and eating outside under the stars.