By Stephanie Choate
Summer is all about grilling, but there are plenty of options besides those old standbys of burgers and hot dogs. Get creative and try something new this year.
Veggie kebabs. Slice a variety of veggies into evenly sized pieces, about 2 inches. Try bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Toss them in a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you’d like, then thread them onto skewers (if you use wooden ones, make sure to soak them for at least half an hour first so they don’t burn). Grill until done, turning often. Larger vegetables, such as zucchini and eggplant, could also be cut into rounds and thrown straight on the grill.
Potato packet. Cut potatoes or sweet potatoes (or both) into 1-inch chunks, and place in a bowl. Add a chopped onion, several cloves of diced garlic, a handful of fresh chopped herbs and whatever other seasonings you like. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Make a packet out of two layers of tin foil, and cook the potatoes on the grill, flipping occasionally, about 20-30 minutes, or until done.
Shrimp skewers. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to three hours in lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Or, marinate in half rum, half lime juice and a bit of brown sugar. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and grill until shrimp are opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Grilled fruit. Tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and peaches are great on the grill. Skewer some long slices or throw pineapple rings and peach halves straight on. Serve plain, or with a little scoop of Greek yogurt or mascarpone cheese.
Pizza. Yes, pizza. Stretch out store-bought or homemade dough into several thin ovals of a manageable size, and have all your toppings ready. Lightly brush one side with olive oil, and grill it until cooked about halfway through. Flip the dough, and add toppings and cheese. Close the grill lid, and cook until the cheese is melted and the toppings and dough are cooked through.
Other things to cook on the grill:
Corn, soaked in water and grilled in the husk.
Quesadillas, filled with cheese, beans and salsa, and topped with fresh cilantro.
Tin foil-wrapped fish, seasoned with lemon, herbs, salt and pepper.
Store-bought bread or pizza dough, formed into thin 8-inch wide flatbreads and grilled on both sides, until cooked. Spread with some herb-infused olive oil and top with a bit of coarse salt.
Experiment with different ideas all summer—really, almost anything you can cook in the kitchen, you can cook on the grill.