Jane Osler's Grilled Vegetable Salad
This is a BBQ season staple for me. It travels well, which also makes it great picnic fare, say before a show at Bard on the Beach.The list of vegetables below is a working list – use what appeals to you and what is in season and available at your local market. ~ Jane
Peppers – You can cut them into large strips but I find it easier to grill them whole and cut and remove the seeds after grilling.
Asparagus – Trim the ends off. I prefer the large fat spears but use what you can find.
Shallots – Keep whole.
Red Onion – Cut into rounds 1.5-2cm thick.
Green Onions – Cut off the roots.
Eggplant – Any size and type will work. Cut into rounds about 2-2.5 cm thick. I prefer the smaller ones as I find they need not be cut further after being grilled.
Zucchini – Similar to the eggplant, any size will work. Cut in strips or on the angle (oblong pieces) about 1.5-2 cm thick (If you cut the same thickness as the eggplant, put them on the grill a little earlier.) As with the eggplant, I find using the smaller/thinner ones means you likely will not need to cut them further after grilling.
Summer Squash – Cut in strips or on the angle (oblong pieces) about 1.5-2 cm thick.
Brown (Cremini) Mushrooms – You can use white button mushrooms but I prefer the flavour and texture of the brown ones, especially for the BBQ (Portobello also work well). Remove stems (and if using Portobello remove the gills as well).
Green and Yellow Beans – Keep whole. These are probably best done in a veggie basket or foil packet.
Fennel – Use small bulbs. Trim (keeping root intact) and cut in half. If only have large bulbs cut in quarters, try to keep root intact so that the bulb does not fall completely apart on the grill.
Snow Peas – OK, I don’t actually grill these, but I do like the crunch they can add to a grilled vegetable salad and sometimes add them in.
Beets – I love roasted beets. However, they take a long time so unless I am doing something that is going to be on the grill for a while I am unlikely to grill them. When I do, I trim the greens, peel them, and then cut into wedges. If they are small baby beets I may keep whole and remove skins after grilling. I also use a foil packet rather than put them directly on the grill.
Toss vegetables lightly with oil – you don't want to soak them in oil, simply prepare them for the grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill the vegetables in batches – depending on the size of your grill you can probably do a few types at one time. Start with the peppers (if whole) and the denser vegetables and then move to the ones that will cook faster. The amount of time will depend on the heat of your BBQ, the thickness of the vegetables, and how well done you prefer your grilled veggies.
Once cooked, cut the vegetables into bite size pieces. Drizzle a nice balsamic or lemon vinaigrette over top (oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs such as basil, lemon verbena, Italian parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc. Your herb mixture will depend on the type of vinaigrette – lighter ones for a lemon base, stronger ones for a balsamic. Crumble goat cheese on top (if desired). I will often serve atop baby arugula.
Jane Osler is the President of PJ Osler & Associates .