Monday, June 2, 2008

Kevin's Grilled Vegetables with Red Pepper Viniagrette

Summer = grilling.

Now, depending on what side of the country you may find yourselves on, you may have different names for what is being described in this post. In my family's home state of Utah, anything cooked outdoors qualifies as 'barbecue,' but in my current home in North Carolina, 'barbecue' refers specifically to whole pigs cooked on coals slathered in vinegar. Having spent a few years in Wisconsin, where hamburgers and bratwursts on the grill constitute a 'fry out,' I have no idea what to call this activity, but I know that I love it. Something about standing in front of a hot grill with a giant set of tongs makes you feel completely in control.

This recipe comes from a good friend of mine, probably the one responsible for my culinary experimentation. I will admit, I was very skeptical of grilled avocados, but boy howdy, was I pleasantly surprised.

Grilled Vegetables with Red Pepper Vinaigrette

  • Vegetables for grilling: we used zucchini, onions, avocados, and sweet potatoes. Other good possibilities would include eggplant, bell peppers, yellow squash, portobello mushrooms, etc.
Red Pepper Vinaigrette
  • 2 red bell peppers (due to a lack of quality produce, we used one red and one orange, but the result was still quite good)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a grill to medium-low heat. Cut the vegetables into grill-able chunks: you'll probably want to cut things a little thicker so they don't get soggy. We cut the avocados in fourths, and it worked great. Cut the red peppers for the vinaigrette into 4-5 flat segments.

Place the red pepper segments, skin-side down on the grill. Cook until the skins are charred black. Remove from the grill and place in a bowl with plastic wrap covering. Let set for a few minutes.

Place the rest of the vegetables on the grill. Be aware that many vegetables cook at different speeds: this is kind of an exercise in timing. Sweet potatoes take the longest, while zucchini took the shortest. Put the firmer, denser vegetables on first, then follow after a few minutes with the rest.

While the vegetables are grilling (keep an eye on them!), peel the charred skins off the pepper. Put the pepper flesh, the tomato, olive oil, vinegar, and some salt and pepper in a blender and process until smooth.

Once the vegetables are done (you want soft, but not mushy), serve with the vinaigrette.

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