After sharing thoughts about summer vegetable chopping yesterday, here I present a simple technique to get mixed vegetables onto your grilling menu with little fuss and easy advance preparation. Yes - this approach is just like the "hobo dinners" or whatever that campsite foil package dinner deal is called. We're just taking it upscale a little.
The advantages of using this approach are:
- The vegetables can be chopped hours in advance
- You can grill-steam the packet(s) somewhat in advance of the prime-time grilling window (e.g., burger / steak / whatever grilling) because these veggies are great at room temp.
Grill-Steamed Vegetable Packets
Two large packets to serve 6-8 people
2 red peppers, chopped into 1/2" pieces or larger
2 yellow or orange peppers, chopped into 1/2" pieces or larger
1 red onion, chopped into 1/2" pieces
4 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed, halved down the center, sliced into "1/2 moons" about 3/8" thick
--- Trust me - 1/4" is too thin, 1/2" is ok, but I think in between is perfect.
4 medium yellow squashes, trimmed as zucchini
--- You can salt and drain the zucchini and squash if you'd like.
--- Let them drain for 15-20 minutes, then gently wipe with a paper towel
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried).
--- You can add plenty of fresh oregano, but be spare with the dried stuff.
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Prep all the vegetables and toss with half the olive oil, the balsamic, oregano and S&P. This can be done up to 3-4 hours before cooking.
- When grill is warming / fire starting, lay out two large pieces of heavy duty foil. Drizzle one tablespoon of oil on each sheet and spread it around. Put half of the vegetable mixture on each sheet.
- Wrap the sheets into a package, rolling from the sides and sealing at the top. You can use more than one piece of foil and can wrap this package almost any way you want - tightly, loosely, whatever - just get it fairly well closed for grilling, allowing the ability to open the top and check doneness of the veg.
- Place packets on hot grill for about 10 minutes. The heat of the grill, thickness of the foil, the size and amount of vegetable will all modify how long it takes to cook these through.
- The main thing is to not overcook the vegetables - you'd eat most of them raw or nearly so anyway - so underdone is better than overdone. If they are a little under done you can keep the package closed for a few minutes off the grill. If they come off the grill perfect, open the packages widely or turn them out into a serving bowl.
- Before final serving taste and adjust salt, pepper, or even a touch more oil or balsamic.
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