Two weeks ago, I embarked on a new chapter of my culinary life. No longer would I be confined to the kitchen and a life punctuated by stove-and-oven cooking; instead, I would venture outdoors, thermometer in hand, and face my BBQ-inspired fears. I was determined to one day categorized myself as a “griller.”
I am happy to report that my burgers (week #1) weren’t just edible; they were pretty darn good. So when faced with my second assignment, I had just enough confidence to try something slightly more challenging than the “slap the meat on the grill” technique appropriate for burgers. After seeking advice from Associate Food Editor Elaine Johnson, I decided that I would tackle cooking with indirect heat and prepare Grilled Ratatouille.
The only aspect of the recipe that inspired true fear within me was the creation of indirect heat. Thankfully, this task was not nearly as daunting as it sounded (note: I can only speak to what is required for a gas grill; the process for a charcoal grill appears much more difficult). Following the directions, I set all burners to high, closed the lid, and heated the grill for 10 minutes. I then turned off one of the burners and reduced the others to medium (the area over the turned-off burner is the indirect heat area). That’s all there was to it.
I chopped the vegetables, tossed them with garlic, olive oil, and herbs, and spread them on a baking sheet.
Onto the grill they went, and every 15 minutes I stirred, adding a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar each time (I added another splash in their final minutes of cooking).
Once they cooled, I topped the vegetables with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese and served them alongside creamy polenta (although grilled chicken or lamb would have been equally delicious).
As I look ahead to my next assignment, I am once again faced with the question, “What should I grill?” And I would love some suggestions! Please feel free to share any and all of your ideas. But please be easy on me; this will only be assignment #3.