For many folks grilling is about meat, more like MEEEEAT, and the rest of the meal or menu is prepared in your indoor kitchen. The great thing about the Weber Genesis E-320 Propane Gas Grill is that the 12,000 BTU side burner opens up several more options for controlling your cooking and dining experience right on your patio. However, having made that observation, we are always surprised by how many “sides” and even “desserts” can be prepared right on the grilling grate of the E-320.
First things first, the grill grate needs to be thoroughly cleaned and the grate should be well oiled. On top of that, make sure that any vegetables or fruits have been bushed with olive oil, sprayed with cooking oil or hand rubbed with butter. Don’t use your expensive EVOO for this but you can if you wish. Flavored olive oils infused with your favorite seasoning, herbs and spices are wonderful for grilling. Dropped on a medium to med-high temperature grate, several veggies and fruits get wonderful textures and flavors that are a delightful change from raw, steamed, griddled and pan-fried. If you enjoy the flavor of a slightly charred food item, grilling this way is a perfect way to capture that flavor on fruits and vegetables.
Keep in mind that this is not a “close the lid and check back later” cooking technique. When grilling fruits and vegetables it is best to keep a sharp eye on the cooking process. Both veggies and fruits will get soft and squishy or even burnt if left over the flame for too long. When the fruits grill the heat caramelizes the natural sugar and this along with the smokiness from the grill, provides that wonderfully unique grilled flavor.
Here’s how a few vegetable and fruit favorites can be done on the Weber Genesis E-320 Gas Grill.
#1 Asparagus is perfect for this when tossed with some lime, garlic butter and spread out on the grate. Grilling gives it a really different flavor from streaming or even doing it on a George Forman. Great with flavored oils as well.
#2 Fried Green Tomatoes need to be put in a grilling basket or on foil with holes but they have a lot less fat than fried and the char flavor is great.
#3 Eggplant is a favorite whether sliced thin and crisped up or cut thick and done like a veggie steak. This is also true for a sweet onion like the Vidalia. Just brush with EVOO and then drizzle a little Balsamic vinegar on top before turning over.
#4 Leeks and baby bok choy are done the same way. Sliced length-wise and oiled with balsamic, Worcestershire, or soy sauce and placed sliced side down, these are flavor filled.
#5 Corn on the Cob off the grill is a totally different flavor. Pull back the husk to use like a handle, oil up the corn, and put on the grill rotating often.
#6 Grilled Romaine Lettuce or Endive is sliced lengthwise and sprayed with olive or canola oil and placed flat side down. For a Caesar salad with popping flavor, use the chopped grilled Romaine.
#7 Pineapples are a grill favorite. Use fresh cut rings spritzed with cooking oil and go for the grill marks!
#8 Pears and apples are super on the grill, especially when sprinkled with a spice like cinnamon. Brushing them with a little lime juice will keep them from getting brown before you are ready to put them on the grill.
#9 Apricots, peaches, and other soft tree fruits can also be grilled with an eagle eye on the process. Simply remove their pit and grill the halves. Just fantastic with pork.
#10 Bananas can even be grilled. Yes, that’s a Banana on the grill. Use a firm not very ripe fruit that has been hand rubbed with butter. Lightly grill until golden with some grill marks and remove. Slice the banana lengthwise and place the halves flat side down on enough foil to make a packet. Then chop up your favorite dark chocolate candy bar (Snickers and Mounds, YUM) and sprinkle chunks over the banana. Then pull up the foil and seal the packet. Return to the grill two to three minutes until the chocolate is melty.