Did you know that eating food that’s in season is not only better (and tastier) for you, but it’s better for the environment? Purchasing food in season at local farms locks in the rich nutrients and cuts down on the carbon needed for traveling long distances. It also reduces the need for extra refrigeration and chemicals to keep produce lasting longer.
Make summer veggies like squash and broccoli the star of the show or grill them as a side dish with local grass fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, and chicken.
Whatever you’re grilling, here are some terrific tips from Chef Thi at Powisset Farm and a recipe to accompany your grill meat of choice.
Grates – Grilling requires a good sear on foods to give the grilled flavor. The only way to achieve this is to have your grates clean, lightly oiled, and hot.
Temperature – Get the temperature to about 500 degrees before placing food on the grill. It is important to preheat the grill with the lid closed. This is easy to gauge using a gas grill. If using charcoal, make sure the coals are all white and glowing. A way to check this is to place your hand a few inches above the grate and count the seconds until you pull away. 1 to 2 seconds is high, 3 to 4 is medium high, 4 to 5 is moderate. Different foods require different temps. Use your senses to determine when to move food to indirect heat and direct heat.
Flare-ups – Fat ignites flames, and burned food does not taste good. Reduce odds of flareups by trimming excess fat off fatty meats and keeping oil in marinades at a minimum. If you do get flare ups, simply move to a different part of the grill that has indirect heat.
Grilled Garden Vegetable Bruschetta
2 large red or orange bell peppers
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/3-inchthick rounds
2 zucchinis, about 6 ounces each, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
6 red-ripe plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon mild-flavored honey
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, preferably, or Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
2 baguettes, sliced, ½ in. thick
Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) or sunflower kernels for garnish
Shaved parmesan for garnish
Brush all the vegetables with oil. Season all the vegetables (except for the pepper) with salt and pepper.
Fire up the grill to 400-425 degrees.
Grill the vegetables uncovered, in batches if necessary. (If in batches, start with the bell peppers, which need time to steam after they come off the grill.) Cook the bell peppers until the skin blackens and blisters and they are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plastic bag to steam until they are cool enough to handle. Grill the onions for 15 to 18 minutes, the zucchini for 10 to 12 minutes, and the tomatoes 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the bell peppers on all sides, and turn the onions, zucchini, and tomatoes so they face the fire twice on each side.
When the peppers are cool, peel and then dice them into bite-sized pieces. Dice the onions, zucchini, and tomatoes too. Then toss the vegetables and their juices all together in a large bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes.
To prepare the dressing, whisk the oils and honey together in a small bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the vegetables to marinate. Add a few tablespoons at a time until the vegetables are to your liking, and season to taste.
Grill the bread on the hot grill (no need for oil) until you see grill marks on both sides and the bread has a nice crust. Place the bread on a platter and top with a scoop of the marinated vegetables. To finish, add pepitas, shaved parmesan, and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.