Sunday, August 23, 2009

186. Grilled Summer Vegetables with Pesto (p. 591)

When you're on vacation at the beach, staying at a rental house with a deck and a grill, you just have to grill something, right? Of course you do!

Before we left, I flipped through The Book, picked out this recipe* and packed up all of the zucchini and squash leftover from the week's CSA box, and looked forward to an easy, tasty dinner.

Well, at least it was easy. Tasty, not so much. And it was probably the least attractive thing I've ever cooked. But, the dish's shortcomings were all my fault. I should have known better than to leave the veggies unattended on an unfamiliar grill. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is really a very straightforward and simple way to prepare grilled vegetables. First, I sliced each of the following in half lengthwise: an eggplant, a zuchini, a yellow squash, and for good measure, a cousa squash. I also cored and seeded a red bell pepper and cut it into quarters. I marinated all of these veggies in a simple marinade of garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, thyme and salt and pepper. Then I put the veggies on a pre-heated gas grill.

The Book says to cook the veggies for a total of 18 to 22 minutes, turning once during the cooking. So, I figured that I could leave them alone for a few minutes while I went back into the house. Big mistake. Apparently, even though I turned down the heat, the grill was still way too hot. By the time I came back, the veggies had a pretty good char on them. The poor red peppers were incinerated beyond recognition. I was able to salvage the situation somewhat by scraping off most of the burned parts, but the veggies were still overcooked.

I cut the eggplan, zuchinni and squash into pieces, and put them in a large bowl and tossed with some store-bought pesto. The Book suggests using homemade pesto, and refers to the recipe on page 889. I have made this pesto before, and it's far superior to store-bought pesto, but for the sake of simplicity and convenience while on vaction, I opted for store-bought.

I served the veggies with some grilled Italian chicken sausage and some potato wedges I cooked on the grill, with a little extra pesto on the side. It tasted fine, even though the veggies were too soft and a bit smoky from the overcooking. If my execution had been better, and if I had used some fresh-tasting homemade pesto, this dish would have been much better. I'm sure that I'll try this one, or some other variation of it again some day when I'm looking for something quick and easy to go with some grilled chicken or steak.

Well, my vacation is over, and it's back to reality. We had a great week of wonderful weather, and I was so glad to have the opportunity to make some great family memories of my son's first trip to the beach.

Date Cooked: August 20, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: B-

*This recipe isn't on

No comments: