Geoff Scott's BBQ Summer Vegetables
BBQ Summer Vegetables
November is a great time of year. Day by day the weather warms up and some weekends, like the one just gone 8 /9 November 2014 – we have had the most perfect weather for a bbq .
At our place with the kids it’s normally a sausage or two and perhaps a steak for Mum and Dad. Sadly it’s so often the vegetables that play second fiddle to the meat and for me they actually are the most important from a healthy balanced diet point of view. They can easily be the hero of the meal!
So here are a few ideas of what I like to cook on my bbq at home. I will often change and adapt combinations to keep things fresh and interesting, and you will, I am sure come up with your favourites too. Good luck and have fun!
Some vegetables to cook from RAW:
Asparagus, courgette, mushrooms, capsicums, egg plant, broccolini, onions
Some to cook once BLANCHED (they have been partially boiled in salted water)
Kumara, potatoes, carrots, parsnips
To cook any vegetables on the BBQ I believe they need just a very simple coating of olive oil and salt. A little finely grated garlic is nice too but the theory of “simple is best” - really works. Be careful not to add too much oil as this will smoke up and probably burn, ruining the taste.
Having a pastry brush to coat slices of egg plant, kumara or potato ‘steaks’, strips of courgette, thick slices of mushroom – ensures that there is an even coating of oil on all surfaces that are going to be cooked – and therefore will caramelise more evenly. This of course will lead to the ultimate result, a delicious tasting vegetable.
For asparagus or blanched baby carrots, place them in a shallow dish and drizzle oil over, season with salt then toss them through the oil so it coats them well before placing on the bbq.
Whether using the flat / hot plate or the char-grill bars the temperature is most important. I like quite a hot heat to start. It is important to hear that sizzle, this tells you that there is enough heat to prevent boiling the vegetables, and you know you begin to get caramelisation, the golden browning, the best bit as the natural sugars in the vegetables begin to caramelise and thus develop great taste. For thicker items it is a good idea to turn the temperature down once they have started to brown, and allow the heat to cook right through to the centre and actually get hot. Learning to control and manage the bbq heat is crucial to mastering the perfect vegetables. Just remember hot to start then medium or low to finish.
A platter of perfectly cooked asparagus for example really doesn’t need a single thing extra. But sometimes it’s nice to jazz things up a little with some additional treats.
Creamy Sauces - I particularly like creamy sauces to drizzle or dollop over vegetables, including sour cream, crème fraiche and mayonnaise – all of these work superbly with a little additional salt and freshly ground pepper, plus a squeeze of any citrus and their zest. Fresh herbs work well in the mix too – either added to the dressing or just freshly sliced and sprinkled over the dressing and vegetables at the very last minute.
Vinaigrettes – any type of vinaigrette works well as it cuts through the sweetness of the vegetables. Again fresh herbs are excellent in or on the vinaigrette.
Cheese – I am a cheese lover and any addition of cheese to hot bbq vegetables is an indulgent plus. Try adding some shaved or grated parmesan cheese or any other hard cheese, pecorino or mature gouda. Crumbled feta and blue cheese are superb additions when served with asparagus, field mushrooms and kumara.
The EXTRA step – of course one must not overlook a little crunch in the dish. The easiest way to achieve this is to simply sprinkle over a few freshly roasted nuts, hazelnuts, pinenuts, almonds or walnuts. Either pop nuts in the microwave for a minute or two, cooking at 30 second intervals and chop if necessary or roast nuts in the oven at 160C for 3 – 5 minutes depending on their size. They should smell delicious & sweet, be careful not to overcook.
With all the hard work and care so far – it’s great to give your vegetables the attention they deserve. Choose the right shaped dish or platter for your vegetables. Place each type of vegetable on it’s own platter. Serve on pre warmed / hot platters so the food stays hot, have your sauce and garnish ready to apply and serve immediately with the meat or seafood, on the side!
If you are cooking for large numbers it is quite effective and convenient to cook the vegetables in advance then just give them a quick blast in a hot oven at 200C for 5 – 10 minutes or until hot.
BBQ suggestions by Geoff Scott
Chef owner, Vinnies by Geoff Scott
166 Jervois Road, Herne Bay, Auckland 1011
+64 9 376-5597