According to author and chef Rob Rainford, his passion for grilling is an extension of his passion for life. “What makes the grill so unique is that, because you’re outdoors, you feel as if you’re communing with nature while you’re preparing a meal,” he says. Here’s a simple and healthy recipe from Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill.
Summer’s Best Mixed Vegetable Grill
Serves approximately 8
1 c. olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 zucchini, thinly sliced
6 yellow sweet peppers, seeded and quartered
4 Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 white onions, cut into wedges
2 c. smoked red grape tomatoes (recipe follows)
1 c. fresh basil, very thinly sliced
Fire up your charcoal grill and prep it for cooking over indirect heat. You need a medium-high temperature of around 350° to grill the vegetables. For gas grills, preheat the grill to medium-high, then turn off one burner to achieve indirect heat.
Stir together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, peppers, eggplant and onions with half the oil mixture in a large bowl. Place the vegetables over direct heat. Cook, turning as needed, until well marked. Move the vegetables to the cooler part of the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until tender.
Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter, add the tomatoes and drizzle with the reserved oil mixture. Sprinkle with basil.
Smoked Red Grape Tomatoes
Makes 2 cups
1 lb. red grape tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 handful apple wood chips, soaked in water for 2 hours
1 handful dry apple wood chips (optional)
Toss the tomatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet.
Fire up your charcoal grill and prep the grill for cooking over indirect heat. You need a temperature of around 220° to smoke the tomatoes. For gas grills, preheat the grill to 220°, then turn off one burner to achieve indirect heat.
Once the charcoal grill is heated, place the soaked wood chips on top of the lit charcoal. For gas barbecues, wrap the soaked chips in a foil pouch and place the pouch directly on the heated side of the grill. When the wood chips start to smoke, place the baking sheet on the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid.
After 30 minutes, the smoke will die down. If you want significant smoke flavor, add the dry wood chips at this time, scattering them directly over the lit coals or wrapping them in a foil pouch if you are using a gas barbecue.
Smoke the tomatoes with the lid down for 90 minutes until they start to shrivel slightly.
Recipe from Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill: Over 100 Recipes From My Backyard To Yours (Appetite by Random House, 2012)