Most recipes on grilling vegetables don't go beyond washing, trimming and placing them on the grill.. is it that simple? errr.. yes!!! but maybe no.
Though grilling gives vegetables a smoky flavor, the spice lover in me feels it can be tastier. So what I like to do is marinate most veggies in a light marinade. Earlier, we used to just marinate veggies in the Italian dressing....which really works beautifully but now I just throw together some spices and olive oil and that's it. The proportions keep changing.. more garlic sometimes, some paprika sometimes, some cumin...play with it.
Most veggies do well on the grill, but some really stand out--asparagus, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers (bell or hot), onions, cauliflower. Most vegetables cook better and are less likely to stick if marinated first or brushed lightly with cooking oil just before grilling. For added flavor, sprinkle grilled vegetables with fresh herbs.
To avoid scorching or overcooking, you want the grill fire to be medium-hot.(Test the temperature by
holding your hand 5 inches above the grill grate; if you can hold your hand there for only three to four seconds, the fire is medium-hot.)To grill, place vegetables on a piece of heavy foil or on the grill rack directly over the preheated coals. If putting them directly on the grill rack, oil the rack and lay them perpendicular to the wires of the rack so they won't fall into the grill. Grill, uncovered, for time in chart or till tender, turning occasionally. Watch closely to prevent charring. Direct heat works best so I alternate between placing them on the foil and then on direct heat.
Grilled Potatoes: You can also grill baby potatoes by threading them on to a kabob skewer although boiling them first cuts down the grilling time. Big potatoes grill slowly but nicely and you can wrap them in foil to stop the skin from burning while the inside cooks. Use the red skinned small potatoes and cut them into halves or quarters. Boil water with a pinch of salt and drop the potatoes in and cook for 4-5 minutes. Not fully cooked, just to aid the cooking. Drain and dry and toss with olive oil, some herbs of choice, salt, pepper etc and place in a tray or foil or on skewers and grill till the outside is crispy(12-15 minutes). The potatoes sometimes are better controlled and crispy roasted in a pan in an oven.
Grilled Asparagus:Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.(Add more spices if you like). Grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or to desired softness.
The long slender light Purple eggplants are best for grilling as cook really fast, but you could use regular eggplant too. Marinate the eggplants in a mix of sumac( a sour spice from the Middle East, substitute with lemon juice if you can't find it. It adds a tanginess with too much sourness.), olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and cilantro or parsley leaves. Marinate for 2-3 hours. Adjust taste to preference.
Preheat the grill for high heat. I grill the eggplant on a oiled foil or on a oiled slotted grill tray. Place the eggplants and cook for 4-5 minutes on each sides. It will start looking limp and translucent as it gets cooked. If you are using the fat eggplants, cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices and cook for about 8 -10 minutes on medium heat.
Marinate and then grill for 8 to 12 minutes, turning every 3 minutes
It is important to skewer small button and cremini mushrooms to keep them from falling through the grate during grilling.
Corn on the Cob/Bhutta
Grill corn in the husk for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every 11⁄2 to 2 minutes. Or grill corn directly on the grills, turning every minute or so to evenly roast it. Sprinkle with butter for kids, and red chili powder and salt for the adults.. I still like my corn with the street taste of chaat masala.
Cut into 1-inch-thick slices and after marinating, thread onto metal skewers.Grill for 7 to 9 minutes, turning once. You can cut them into wide slices and thread each piece twice to keep it intact.
A quick grilling can bring out the natural sweetness of peppers and soften their tough flesh, but overcooking results in bitter skins that may become partially detached.
Red or Yellow Onions:
Easily done. Cut into thick slices or square dices(big quarters), just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill for 8-10 minutes. When they are done, they turn transparent and start browning, so check your timing with the oven.