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Grilling Vegetables To Bring Out Their Best

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By Dana Jacobi 

for the American Institute for Cancer Research

One of my favorite restaurants serves the most appealing vegetables around New York City. Buttermilk Channel, in Brooklyn, New York, is a casual neighborhood spot known for farm-to-table cooking. Their grilled vegetable platter shows inspired simplicity in the way each vegetable is prepared to bring out its best. The presentation is a plate of six or more vegetables, every one of them perfectly balancing smoky flavor with its own particular taste, deliciously concentrated from grilling.

This is a method you can do easily at home using a charcoal grill, gas grill or a grill-pan on the stove. Here are the ways to do it with an assortment of the season's favorites. Using fresh-picked vegetables from local farms gives the most flavor.

When using an outdoor grill, be sure the clean grate is brushed with oil and use medium-high heat. Preheat a grill-pan for 5 minutes over high heat. Garnishes like finely chopped herbs, a squirt of lemon juice, drops of balsamic vinegar or some grated Parmesan cheese can be added after grilling, too.

Grilled Vegetables

Asparagus – Plunge spears into boiling water for 1 minute. Blot dry with paper towels. Line up 3-4 spears like soldiers and insert a toothpick through them 1-inch below the tips. Insert another toothpick 1-inch above the bottom. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes, turn and grill 2 minutes.

Broccoli – Select spears with fat stems. Cut off the stems 2 inches below the crown, then stand spears on end and cut them vertically into 3/4-inch slices. Blanch for 1 minute. Blot dry with paper towels. Brush slices lightly with olive oil. Grill for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side.

Carrots – Cut off the top and bottom of a fat, medium-large carrot. Cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill slices for 3 minutes, turn and grill for 2 more minutes.

Onions (red, yellow or sweet) – Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Insert 2 toothpicks crosswise into slices to hold them together on the grill. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

Portobello Mushrooms – Select mushrooms about 3-inches across. Discard the stems and use a small knife to pare away ragged edges. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill the mushrooms gill side up for 2 minutes, turn and grill for 2 minutes, or until no longer raw-looking inside at the thickest point.

Sweet Peppers – Choose peppers that are as square or triangular as possible, with sides that are flat. Standing a pepper on its bottom, hold a large knife and vertically cut off each side as a slab. Brush pepper pieces lightly with olive oil. Grill for 3 minutes, turn, and grill for 2 minutes.

Zucchini Squash – Cut off the top and bottom off a fat, medium-large squash. Cut the squash lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’sNew American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

 

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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