With summer weather this nice, you want to cook outdoors if you possibly can. But you don't have to put just meat on the fire -- vegetables and even fruit can grill up with terrific results. So grill farmers market produce for your dinner with one of these six recipes. Each makes for a substantial side or a light main course.
Grilled fig salad: One great way to use figs is in salads. Head out to the grill for this recipe, with radicchio and fennel quickly grilled over a hot fire. Figs are also grilled, the fruit cooked just long enough to caramelize some of their sugars and deepen their flavor. Toss the salad with goat cheese, walnuts and sherry vinaigrette for a simple dish.
Grilled eggplant with anchovies, garlic and rosemary: Stud thick wedges of eggplant with bits of garlic, anchovy and rosemary. The aromatic flavors work wonderfully with the eggplant, the wedges grilling up like thick steaks.
Grilled romaine with walnuts, Parmesan and anchovy dressing: Grilled tender hearts of romaine are tossed with a fresh anchovy dressing, toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan for a salad or light dinner.
Green beans with pickled shallots: Green beans are quickly softened over the grill, then the lightly charred beans are dressed with olive oil, salt and tangy quick-pickled shallots. You can pickle the shallots ahead of time so they're ready to go when needed.
Grilled eggplant with red and yellow peppers: For a colorful dish that gets you cooking outdoors, brush thick slices of eggplant with olive oil and throw them on the grill, topping with slow-roasted red and yellow peppers to add color and sweet dimension.
Grilled ratatouille: And for a fun take on ratatouille, toss the vegetables on the grill, as the light charring adding a nice smokiness to the dish. Here's the recipe:
1 large eggplant
1 large red onion
4 small zucchini
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sliced basil
1. Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Grill over hot coals until soft and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. Cut onion into 6 wedges, leaving onion connected at root end. Grill, turning often, until soft and slightly charred, about 15 minutes.
3. Halve tomatoes crosswise. Grill until soft and slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Grill until soft and slightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Grill garlic, turning often, 5 minutes.
6. Chop eggplant, onion, tomatoes and zucchini into 1/2-inch dice. Mince garlic. Combine in large bowl.
7. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Stir in basil. Add to vegetables and toss.
Each of 6 servings: 63 calories; 60 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.06 grams fiber.