I’m so excited every day we stop by a farmer’s market. I dance looking at all the delicious veggies like okra, patty pan squash, romanesco, tiny juicy tomatoes ranging from yellow to red, huge purple beets, garlic scapes, blackberries, and italian plums. I could go on forever. There’s also a producer only farmer’s market near us that has amazing produce. I love meeting with the farmers or more like it the farmer’s wives. I heard this from the farmer’s wife’s mouth-she goes to the market to sell the produce and the kids stay at home as they listen better to their dad. Sounds like a good trade to me.
I’ve found the produce at our farmer’s markets so lovely this summer that I don’t want to do too much to it. I thought preparing a huge grilled vegetable platter would be the perfect showcase for all these lovely summer vegetables and also feed a crowd. That’s right, we have house guests. Because of this I’m in the mind set of doubling or tripling all our recipes right now. That way we have veggies left over for breakfast or lunch the next day. Meyer and I have been consciously adding more vegetables to all our meals. It turns out that I don’t mind eating veggies for breakfast. That was a big realization for me. But a great one since it gets more vegetables into our diet and gives me variety in our breakfasts instead of just plain eggs each morning. We’ve been skipping the gluten free toast as well. It turns out that if we add veggies to our eggs we don’t fill up on bread. And that’s a good thing on most mornings.
Back to the grilled vegetables. I love grilled veggies. I think grilling makes everything turn a bit sweeter. For this platter I used red onions, patty pan squash, fennel, red and yellow peppers, an eggplant, and giant portabella mushrooms caps It turned into a great spread of veggies. Grilling mushrooms extracts a lot of their water and allows that deep earthy flavor to come through. It also sweetens peppers and onions. It’s also one of the only ways I enjoy eggplant. I grill vegetables just from intuition. I roughly check after three minutes to see where I stand on the temperature and charr level. If you are a more precise person Cooks Illustrated is a great reference. The pages of their grilling book is certainly worn in our house.
As we have a range of eaters in the house right now a grilled vegetable platter also filled lots of different palates. The vegetarian had plenty to enjoy, while the not so adventurous eater had enough normal veggies to be content, all the while Meyer can get his fill of patty pan squash and eggplant. It’s also the perfect side when you don’t want to make a starch. It gives lots of variety to everyone’s tastebuds and some meaty satisfaction with the charr. Though in our house it was of course complimented by a delicious steak. We’re big meat eaters but we restrained ourselves with a few slices of nicely grilled dry-aged strip steak with lots of grilled veggies! As a tip, I always try to grill my veggies 1st on a freshly brushed hot grill so that our vegetarian guest doesn’t eat a meat filled bite of vegetables. It also gives me time to rest the steak to room temp before grilling it. So it’s a win win.
I also threw together a little lemony herb drizzle. I thought the freshness of lemons, garlic, and parsley would nicely brighten all those grilled veggies. It did! Everyone loved the sauce. I’m going to have to play with it a bit more to get the right consistency but it was a great first try. I’ll certainly be using this on top of other vegetable dishes this summer. It also was a great simple sauce for grilled meats. It’s easier to make than a salsa verde and with a few less ingredients.