Groovy Grilling: Greens, Beans and Crucifers

Grilling just got a little more greener -- as in leafy, podded and cruciferous. That's right; break out the barbie and grill up some salad, y'all. This season has seen the most interesting choices for the grill, including hearty greens such as broccoli raab and Swiss chard, bitter members of the chicory family, bean pods, cabbage and --- what the heck -- romaine lettuce.

Hearty greens like romaine love a hot minute on the grill. (Kim O'Donnel)

I love roasted radicchio with blue cheese and walnuts; why wouldn't I love it grilled with shavings of sharp pecorino? Its fairer-skinned cousin, the very elegant endive, is also getting grill marks, which I think would be gorgeous with drizzled honey and chopped walnuts.

Grilled cole slaw? You betcha. Last month's issue of Gourmet gives the old school picnic salad a new lease on life, zipped up with an aromatic tarragon vinaigrette and plenty of mustard. I love the addition of grilled scallions for extra smokiness.

Wacky yet brilliant is this clever idea for fava beans, which are grilled whole and simply seasoned with salt and olive oil. I wonder if it would be worth exploring other peas still in the pod, such as edamame, or -- hey! -- what about okra, yet another kind of pod?

Last, but certainly not least, check out this Caesar salad face lift, thanks to a quick stint over the coals. To keep charring to a minimum and smokiness to a maximum, slice the romaine into fourths lengthwise, keeping the root intact. Brush the cut side with about half of your Caesar-y vinaigrette minus the eggs and cheese and then whisk all of the dressing fixins together for a final brush-on after the lettuce is off the heat. Grill those baguette croutons, too!

And pretty please, add your groovy grilling ideas to the charcoal pile below.

By Kim ODonnel |  August 1, 2008; 6:55 AM ET Flames , Vegetarian/Vegan
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eggplant, zuke, squash with or without onions & garlic. marinated with olive oil. watch the amount of olive oil because eggplant is a sponge the more olive oil you pour on it the more it absorbs & while it tastes oh so yummy if you're watching your fat/calories that's not the way to go.

grilled califlower with that vietnamese marinade is a winner.

thin sliced extra firm tofu.

Posted by: quark | August 1, 2008 9:43 AM

yes - okra on the grill works. Just make sure the pods are well coated with oil and don't do it super hot. The trick is to make sure they don't fall through, so a vegetable basket is helpful, otherwise a grill pan or sheet.

Posted by: Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener | August 1, 2008 10:11 AM

Grilled eggplant for babaganoush.


Posted by: Fairlington Blade | August 1, 2008 4:08 PM

In the absence of a grill pan for grilling okra, you can make an "okra ladder" using two wooden skewers. Thread stem end of pods onto one skewer, then insert a second skewer near the small ends, so that the okra becomes the "rungs" for the ladder. Or I usually alternate stem end/small end for more stability and more even grilling. Brush with olive oil, add any seasonings, and you're on the road to roasted okra goodness! With good kitchen tongs, the "ladders" are pretty easy to flip as needed.

Posted by: KathyD | August 2, 2008 2:22 PM

Grilled Plantains: split lengthwise unpeeled, brush open side with a butter, rum, brown sugar and red pepper glaze; grill skin side down until soft, turn and grill a few minutes on glazed side; serve with lime or lemon wedges.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 3, 2008 12:12 AM

Grilled Carrots (fresh, please, not the ones sitting around in those 5 pounds bags for who knows how long) are exceptional! Coat with olive oil, sprinkle a lemon-thyme leaves on it just before serving.


Posted by: Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener | August 3, 2008 10:40 AM

I made grilled Greek salad (romaine, tomatoes, red onions, and halloumi chunks -- all grilled -- with olives and herby dressing) last summer and it was a huge hit. Recipe:

Posted by: Eliz | August 3, 2008 1:08 PM

will there be a live chat this week? Mon or Tues Aug 4 or 5? Thanks.

happy Travels Lucky 7!!!

Posted by: East Coast | August 4, 2008 12:26 PM

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