It’s summertime and the grill is our favorite cooking implement. But just as enticing are the many fruits and vegetables that are currently in season and pair so well with grilled meats.
Cold salads top the list with an endless assortment of vegetable combinations and dressings. Local farms are harvesting corn, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, kale, arugula, radishes, sweet and hot peppers, and potatoes. Freshly picked and full of flavor, all offer a variety of options for summer salads.
Summer is also a great time to use local produce in gazpacho, a cold soup highlighted by the rich tomatoes now in season.
Fresh vegetables also are perfect for grilling; the process coaxes the deep roasted sweetness out of any vegetable, turning it soft and adding a smoky flavor. To clean and prep vegetables for the grill, slice them evenly and add seasonings and a drizzle of olive oil. They can be speared on kebabs or set directly on the grill over medium heat, turning them after three to five minutes. Be careful to lay them on the grill crossways so they don’t slip down onto the fire.
Vegetables ideal for grilling include zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, corn, cauliflower, onions, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus and broccoli.
For an easy, quick and refreshing salad, this recipe from foodiecrush.com uses vegetables now in season:
Zucchini and Fresh Corn Salad
1 small or medium zucchini
1 small or medium yellow squash
1 ear of corn shucked and cleaned,with the kernels cut off the cob
1 ounce goat cheese
Red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few leaves of fresh torn basil
A few tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (optional)
½ cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove minced fresh garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
For the Salad:
With a wide vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini and squash lengthwise into long ribbons (discarding the middle - you’ll know when you get to it, because the squash will get too thin and watery.) Place the ribbons in a good sized bowl or plate, alternating so you can see equal amounts of green and yellow. Add the corn kernels and about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Toss. Add salt, freshly ground pepper and chili flakes to taste. Add the goat cheese and garnish with fresh torn basil.
Note: You will have vinaigrette left over to use on other salads.