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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Time to get the grills back out

It’s time to dust off the grills. Instead of loading it down with different cuts of meat, how about we take a vegetarian view? Lots of vegetables taste great when given the chance to rest on a grill.

Today I have gathered a few recipes that are meatless options for your grill. The first one can be used as either a side dish or entree, Grilled Vegetables. The second is a main dish, Grilled Eggplant with herbed Ricotta. The last is a different twist on a summer classic, Grilled Potato Salad. Gather your ingredients, and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Grilled Vegetables

This is a great recipe to prepare after a trip to the Farmer’s Market. There you can find the your favorite vegetables as fresh as if you grew them your self. One note: if you use wooden skewers, soak them in water 30 minutes before you put the vegetables on them.

1 pound small red potatoes, halved or quartered

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley

Creole seasoning to taste

Assorted vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces

Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice and zest, herbs, and Creole seasoning. Boil potatoes in well-salted water for 8 to 10 minutes until barely tender; drain and cool under cold running water. Place all vegetables in a 1-gallon zip-top bag, add marinade, and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight, turning from time to time to distribute marinade.

About 30 minutes before cooking, remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Thread vegetables with similar cooking times onto skewers, leaving about 1/4-inch between each piece. Transfer skewers to grill and cook, turning and basting with reserved marinade from time to time, until browned on all sides and at desired degree of doneness.

Grilled Eggplant with Herbed Ricotta

Eggplant is a great vegetarian option to a steak. Instead of steak sauce, this herbed ricotta is a great enhancement. You’re going to love this preparation.

15 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 clove garlic, pressed

3 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices ( about 3 pounds)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, parsley, chives, tarragon, mint, zest, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350-400℉)

Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil and soy sauce. Grill until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Arrange eggplant on a serving platter. Top with herbed ricotta cheese and serve.

Grilled Potato Salad

The grilling of the vegetables bring an added texture to this dish. Without a mayonnaise or mustard base, this dish can be served either warm or cold. Either way, your dining companions will beg for more.

3 pounds baby Dutch yellow potatoes, halved

4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 cup diced red onion

2 lemons, quartered

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

2 cups halved or quartered Campari tomatoes (Tomatoes on the Vine)

In a large Dutch oven, bring potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and water to cover by 1-inch to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, and spray with cooking spray.

Place potatoes, onions, and lemons in a single layer on prepared pan. Cook, turning once, until tender, about 5 minutes per side.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, parsley, thyme pepper, Creole seasoning, juice from grilled lemons, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Gently stir in tomatoes, potatoes, and onion. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

With the Farmer’s Markey opening up on May 6th, it’s a great time to try these recipes. Not only are you getting the best product, you are also supporting small local business. I hope to see you out there. I always get plenty of inspiration when I visit the market.

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