Garden2Grill Recipe Corner: Grilled Gazpacho
By Cassandra D’Antonio (SEMG 2012),
Chair of the Garden2Table Committee
It’s July and that means the temperatures are heating up and so are our grills. Last year I wrote about my newfound love for grilled peaches, which become both sweet and savory when first brushed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with coarse salt, and a few minutes of grilling on each side. This month I am focusing on veggies, which can produce some of the simplest yet most delicious sides for your barbecue favorites within a few minutes of hitting the grates. For those of you on a plant-based diet, grilled veggies can be devoured as a meal in themselves. Put some those home-grown veggies on the barbie and get ready for this month’s tasty recipes.
Nearly all vegetables cook well on the grill, but some tried and true favorites include sliced sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, whole corn, whole asparagus, halved leeks, quartered onion, halved and seeded bell pepper, halved or quartered tomatoes, whole portobello mushrooms, whole radicchio leaves, and baby artichokes. Here is a quick guide for grilling tender, flamed kissed favorites (Source: Southern Magazine, July 2021):
Cut into quarters; remove seeds and stem. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. On oiled grates over high heat, grill covered until slightly charred, about 3 minutes on each side.
Cut into ½-inch slices and season with salt. Drain in a colander for 30 minutes and pat dry. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. On oiled grates over medium-high heat, grill covered until tender and charred on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Cut through the root end into ½-inch wedges. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. On oiled grates over medium-high heat, grill covered until lightly charred and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Thread tomatoes onto 12-inch skewers or keep them on the vine. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. On oiled grates over high heat, grill uncovered until lightly charred, about 4 minutes, turning skewers once when halfway through.
Cut medium-size squash diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Toss to coat. On oiled grates over high heat, grill covered until tender and lightly charred, about 3 minutes on each side.
Naked: Remove the husks and silk from corncobs. Brush with butter or oil, and place on a medium-hot grill, turning often until evenly charred and tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
In Husks: Peel back the husks, leaving them attached at the stem, and remove the silk. Soak cobs with husks in heavily salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain, shaking off excess water. Secure husks over corn with kitchen string. Place on a medium-hot grill, turning often, until evenly cooked and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
In Foil: Remove husks and silk from corncobs. Wrap each one in an individual piece of foil, leaving a little bit of room for the corn to plump. Grill, turning often, until evenly cooked and tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Whack each artichoke on a countertop a couple of times to loosen the leaves. Trim away the stem’s outer layer and cut each artichoke lengthwise into quarters. Scoop out any hairy chokes. Place on grill rack, cut sides down. Grill, turning every 5 minutes, until evenly charred and tender, about 20 minutes total.
SAUCE IT UP
Though these simple and plain grilled vegetables are delicious on their own, the following recipes can be used as either a marinade or basting sauce to snazzy them up. (Source: The Total Grilling Manual: 264 Essentials for Cooking with Fire)
- Soy-Sesame Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry, 1 Tbsp. bottled oyster sauce, ½ tsp. Asian sesame oil, and 1 ½ tsp. peeled and finely minced ginger.
- Balsamic Glaze: Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, and 2 minced garlic cloves.
- Mint Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, and ½ cup of finely chopped mint leaves.
- Salsa Verde: In a food processor, blend 2 anchovy fillets, ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, 6 fresh basil leaves, 1 tsp. capers, 1 Tbsp. caper brine, and ¼ cup olive oil until finely minced.
SERVE IT UP
If you would prefer to snazzy up your grilled vegetables post-grill, the following recipes can be served alongside or on top of your favorite grilled vegetables. (Source: The Total Grilling Manual: 264 Essential for Cooking with Fire)
- Romesco Sauce: In a food processor or blender, process ¼ cup of toasted, sliced almonds until finely ground. Add 1 peeled and chopped tomato; 1 large roasted, peeled and seeded red bell pepper; 2 crushed large garlic cloves; ¼ cup sherry vinegar; and 1 Tbsp. dry sherry, and process until smooth. With motor running, slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup of olive oil, processing until thickened. Season to taste with salt and paprika.
- Chimichurri: In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup each of olive oil and red wine vinegar, ¼ cup minced red onion, 2 Tbsp. minced bell pepper, 2 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano, 2 tsp. minced garlic, ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Whisk again before serving.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE. Our featured recipe this month is Grilled Gazpacho. If you think fresh gazpacho is good, this unusual grilled variation adds an unexpected depth of flavor and will become a seasonal favorite. Though not the fastest or easiest recipe, it is worth the time, I promise.
Garden to Grill – July Recipe: GRILLED GAZPACHO
Whip up this summer soup at least a few hours in advance. It’s best when you let the flavors meld before serving.
Snip a few fresh garden herbs over each bowlful for a refreshing final touch.
Makes 8-10 servings
6 plum (Roma) tomatoes
4 heirloom tomatoes
Salt & ground pepper
Olive oil for brushing
2 small zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thick strips
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 jalapeno chiles, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped
2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce
4 cups tomato soup
1 Tbsp. each fresh chives, French parsley, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, and tarragon
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
PREP Core, quarter, and seed the tomatoes. Place in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer drained tomato water to a sealed container, cover, and refrigerate.
HEAT Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Brush and oil grates or vegetable grilling basket.
OIL Brush tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and chiles with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.
GRILL Grill vegetables, turning often, until soft and nicely charred on all sides, 2 to 4 minutes for zucchini and 10 minutes for tomatoes, peppers, and chiles. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.
BLEND Working in batches, combine the grilled vegetables, half the cucumbers, and the hot pepper sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. Add ½ cup of the tomato soup (or as much as needed for a nice consistency). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer to a glass pitcher, cover, and refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.
SERVE Fill chilled shot glasses or espresso cups ¾ full with soup. Top each with 1 tsp. of remaining cucumbers, 1 Tbsp. of reserved tomato water, 3 drips of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of fresh herbs. Serve at once.
(Source: The Total Grilling Manual: 264 Essentials for Cooking with Fire)