Jul 30, 2015

Grilled Goodness

There is no reason that grilling should get a bad rap! Grilling can be a healthy method of cooking and one does not need to indulge in hot dogs every time you turn on the heat. Make sure you serve plenty of vegetables along with meat and chicken prepared on the grill and you will never feel like you are copping out on your family’s well-being.
Grilled vegetables can be simple sliced vegetables brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Choose vegetables that cook quickly like zucchini, mushrooms and peppers so you don’t have to watch over them for long.  You can also incorporate grilled vegetables into delicious salads and side dishes for your next barbeque.

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup parsley leaves, checked and chopped

For the salad:
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded
4 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
1 Vidalia onion, sliced in rounds
1 bag checked romaine hearts

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium hot.
Whisk the vinegar with the mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth, slightly thick vinaigrette. Whisk in the parsley and set aside.
Lay the mushrooms, tomatoes and onions out on a pan and lightly brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the grill smooth side down. Grill until juices collect in the cap and mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes. Turn them over and cook until slightly charred around the edges and the center is very tender, about 3 minutes more. Put the tomatoes on the grill skin side down and grill until juicy and charred, about 6 minutes. Grill the onions, turning once or twice, until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
Divide the romaine, mushroom caps, tomatoes and onions among 4 plates. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salads and serve.

12 medium portabella mushroom, stems removed
2 large beef tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt

for the pesto:
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed, dried and checked
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
½ cup pine nuts (pignolia)
½ teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine basil, garlic and pine nuts.  While the motor is running, pour in the oil.  Turn off the food processor.  If the mixture seems too stiff to spread, add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil and process once more.  Season with salt and set aside.
Preheat the grill for 10 minutes.  Using a small spoon, scrape away the black gills on the underside of the mushrooms.  Clean the mushrooms by wiping with a damp paper towel—no need to peel.  Slice the tomatoes into three rounds and remove as many seeds as you can without damaging the flesh.  Brush both the mushrooms and the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place the mushrooms on the grill, cap side down and grill for 6-7 minutes.  Turn them over and use a spatula to press out as much liquid as possible.  Grill another 4 minutes and remove.  Place the tomatoes on the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes then carefully turn with a spatula.  Once again, use the spatula to press out as much liquid as you can.  Grill 5-6 minutes longer and remove.
Set 6 portabella caps stem side up on a platter.  Place a tomato slice on each cap.  Spread a heaping tablespoon of pesto on each tomato.  Top with another mushroom cap to form a little sandwich.  Serve at room temperature.
Hearty appetite!

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