One of my top five favourite things to do, ever, is cook outside. I enjoy cooking outside more than riding roller coasters or eating cupcakes. Whether it’s over a live fire at a campsite or just my regular old gas grill in the yard, this activity really thrusts me into the present moment. The fresh air, the faster pace of it all, and it doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to be as meticulously clean ;)
Since it is my favourite cooking method, I’m always looking for new things and new ways to grill. The internet is usually my friend here. Yearly grilling issues from all the staple food publications generally make me feel like I’m not doing it right because I don’t want to serve entire platters of meat all summer. For all the modernizing of cuisine and discussions of “healthy-ish” eating going more mainstream, it always feels like the culture of the grill stays locked in place as a device primarily reserved for meat worship.
When the folks at Food52 offered to send me their brand new book, Any Night Grilling by Paula Disbrowe, I immediately surmised that it would take a more modern approach with a lot more vegetables in the mix. I was right! Both my partner (an omnivore) and I are enjoying this book so much. It is bursting with great ideas that can be swapped and switched with whatever you happen to be grilling up.
There’s a great recipe for grilled cabbage wedges that I’m going to customize with a sambal oelek glaze, green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. I love the leading section with a bunch of great drink ideas (tongs in one hand, frosty glass in the other, am I right?) including a grilled pineapple punch! We’re making the crispy grilled sweet potatoes with tiki dressing as soon as possible. With late summer in mind, the smoky ratatouille (with eggplant and onion cooked directly on coals!) sounds basically perfect. This book also has a lot of great tips for working with things like wood smoke, building prescribed heat zones, and ultimately, deciding what type of grill is best for your household.
We’re going to be cooking from this all summer and I can’t wait. I get a tiny bit of flack for sharing non-vegan cookbooks on here sometimes, but I honestly pull the most inspiration from the omnivorous ones. This book is, refreshingly, not a total meat-fest, and has so much inspiration in terms of flavor and technique to apply to whatever you like to eat.
I’m sharing the “Truckload of Marinated Vegetables” recipe today with a little personal addition of miso. This recipe caught my eye immediately because of the name, but also because we pretty much eat grilled vegetables every other night these days, and a little spark of inspiration is always good with the things you eat regularly. I made small dices of mine and cooked them in a grill bag (coolest invention ever–find it HERE), but have included the book’s original instructions for cooking right on the grates. Everyone needs a good grilled vegetable technique to satisfy all the people at the party, so I hope you all try this one ;)
GRILLED AND MARINATED VEGETABLES WITH MISO, LEMON & HERBS RECIPE
Via Food52 Any Night Grilling: 60 Ways to Fire Up Dinner (and More) by Paula Disbrowe
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4-6, with leftovers
NOTES: The only change that I made to this recipe was the addition of some miso. This is a wonderful all-purpose marinade that can accommodate all kinds of flavours.
-I’ve left Paula’s instructions for cooking directly on the grill here, even though I used a nonstick grill bag (my new favourite thing honestly). On the off chance that you also have a grill bag (link), you’ll need to cook each side for about 10 minutes.
-From the book’s notes: “For the best results, halve or slice larger vegetables and keep smaller varieties (broccolini, asparagus, baby squash) whole. The more surface area you expose to the grill, the quicker the vegetable will cook and the more flavour you’ll impart. After cooking, you can chop them however you please. Make sure that all vegetables are thoroughly washed and dried–excess moisture will create steam, which inhibits the charring process.”
4 lbs mixed vegetables (such as asparagus, fennel, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, radishes & eggplant)
1 ¼ cups olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped marjoram or oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
generous pinch of dried chili (I used aleppo chili flakes)
1 tablespoon light miso (I used chickpea miso)
Heat a gas grill to high. Carefully wipe the preheated grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.
Depending on the vegetables you’re using, slice them into rounds, halve them, or leave them whole, and then combine them in a large bowl. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Set aside while the grill heats, tossing occasionally.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, parsley, marjoram, thyme, dijon, lemon zest, garlic, chili, miso, and the remaining cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Working in batches if necessary, grill the vegetables in a single layer over direct heat, turning and rotating as needed for even cooking, until charred and slightly tender–2-3 minutes for small, skinny vegetables, 4-5 minutes for larger, denser pieces). Chop or slice the vegetables as desired, transfer to the marinade, and toss gently to combine.
Serve immediately, or let the mixture marinate at room temperature for up to 3 hours or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.