Monday, May 25, 2009

Grilled Veggies

Summer's here!!! Or almost here anyway. It will be a few weeks before the weather is reliably warm and sunny; that doesn't usually happen until around the 4th of July. But, we've started getting nice, sunny, warm days here and there. The first of the fresh local (or at least Californian) produce has started to come into the stores.

One local store had fresh corn in this week. It's early for the really best flavor in the corn, but it's the first corn of the season. So it will have its own inherent goodness. I don't like boiled corn on the cob; I find it gets waterlogged and not evenly done. I actually prefer my corn done with a wood fire, but my fireplace isn't really deep enough for a fire big enough to do it right. I've done the corn when I'm camping as long as camp fires are permitted. Once we get late enough into the summer season, the state really clamps down on open fires in fire pits -- fires in this area can be 10,000 or more acres big; last year we actually had a wildfire within city limits.

So I will settle for doing my corn on the grill.

Grilled Corn
Several whole ears of corn, unshucked (how many depends on how many you want to serve and how hungry they are)
Aluminum foil

Remove the tough, dried outer layer of leaves on each ear. Carefully pull back (but not off) the leaves to expose the corn. Remove the silt. Replace the leaves over the corn. They won't fold back quite as tightly over the ear, but that's okay.

Once all the ears are cleaned, place in a pan or bowl large enough to fit them. Cover with water; the ears will float so they will need to be weighted down. Soak for at least 30 minutes.

Drain the excess water out of the ears. Place each ear on a sheet of aluminum foil and loosely wrap (this is not absolutely necessary, but I don't like ash on my corn and I don't like the flavor the scorched outer leaves create). Crimp each end but don't twist or otherwise tightly close. The goal is to roast, not steam the corn.

Place in a single layer on a medium-hot grill or in the coals of a fire. Do not let ears touch on the grill; you want the heat to circulate around them. Turn the ears every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooking. After 30 to 45 minutes, the corn will be done.

Add butter, salt, and/or pepper as desired.

The corn tends to be a little tougher then boiled corn, but is much sweeter and more flavorful.

One thing to remember is, if you can go lightly on the salt and butter, corn is a really healthy dish. It's a whole grain, so you get those benefits. And, paired with beans and rice, creates a whole protein, so it's a great alternative to meat dishes during the heat of summer.

Corn isn't the only vegetable that can be grilled. Asparagus, zucchini, squash, onions, beets, and mushrooms all respond well. When grilling these vegetables, place the vegetables on a sheet of foil, add oil and spices, and fold the foil around them (as shown on the commercials works well). Make sure the folded over areas are sealed well as the vegetables will need to be turned over to cook evenly. If oil leaks out, it might flame up and scorch any meat or vegetables on the grill.

1 comment:

village mama said...

came here via the 'not grilling' article -- like you I LOVE not heating up the kitchen. Have you ever grilled tofu? I think you'd like the results.