Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs, recipe.

This time of year, I want to eat fresh local tomatoes every day until there are no more. For some reason, the finality of tomato season resonates more than other vegetables. Maybe fresh corn is equal in its limited and anticipated season, but real tomatoes picked ripe tastes like summer and the ground from which it has grown. There is nothing like it.

As much as I love fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes are high on my list for having exceptional flavor, particularly roasted cherry tomatoes. Roasting cherry tomatoes concentrate their natural sweetness giving them an amazing punch of pizzazz. As a result, paring roasted cherry tomatoes with other foods, just makes everything taste better, especially creamy cheese, fish or grilled meats.

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs, recipe.

One of my favorite ways to use roasted cherry tomatoes is to mix them with pasta and make a pasta sauce. Other than chopping up fresh tomatoes and adding them to pasta, roasting cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest methods for making a pasta sauce. Just scatter the tomatoes over a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil and salt, then roast for 30 minutes or so. The other bonus to roasting cherry or grape tomatoes is there is no splatter on the stove or countertop.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I started roasting cherry tomatoes after I saw a photograph of burrata with roasted cherry tomatoes drizzled with basil pesto. Immediately, I knew this appetizer was something I had to discover. Since then I roast cherry tomatoes whenever I get the chance. I especially like to roast them alongside tender white fish like sole, plaice or turbot. They give the delicate fish a much-needed flavor boost.

Roasting cherry tomatoes for pasta sauce requires nothing more than a generous dose of good olive oil and fresh herbs. When they bake together in the oven the juices from the tomatoes and olive oil blend and create a silky sauce that clings to the pasta. There is not a lot of this pan juice, so it is important to use the right size pan to prevent the pan juices from drying out. If that does happen, deglaze the pan with some of the pasta water or wine, then pour the glaze over the pasta.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Roasted Garlic

This summer I never missed an opportunity to roast garlic or onions. So, whenever I roasted vegetables like broccoli, I scattered cloves of garlic, still in their papery skins and roasted the cloves along with the other veggies. Like roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic is one of those foods that just make everything taste better. It does take some time to get the garlic browned and sweet, but I help the process along by slicing large garlic cloves in half. When all done, you can smear the roasted garlic cloves on bread, or spread it over the roasted vegetables for added depth of flavor.

For this recipe, the garlic will not get as caramelized because it only takes 20-30 minutes to roast cherry tomatoes. Yet, in this short timeframe, the garlic becomes soft and sweet. Once the tomatoes are finished I fish out the garlic cloves and remove the papery skins. From there you can decide if you want the garlic cloves left whole in the sauce or chopped up. I decided to chop mine up making sure there was roasted garlic throughout the pasta sauce. Feel free to prepare the garlic any way you wish. Yet, I do not recommend you mince the garlic before you roast it, as garlic burns easily. Burned garlic tastes very bitter.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs, recipe.

How Much Pasta

I once read a note written by Marcella Hazan that when making a pasta dish, it is the pasta that is the primary ingredient, not the sauce or added ingredients. Therefore, the add-ins should be limited in proportion to not take away from the pasta. I love pasta as much as anyone, but I prefer my pasta meals filled with lots of add-ins. This way for every bite I get the fresh flavors of the added ingredients and pasta. Additionally, it is healthier to eat pasta with lots of vegetables because they help slow down the metabolism of the pasta from the extra fiber. This is a long-winded explanation for how much pasta to serve with 2 pounds ( 1 kg) of tomatoes. My preference is a half-pound of pasta, (250g), but use the amount you prefer.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Mix it Up

Add creamy goat cheese to the spaghetti and roasted cherry tomatoes. Scatter spoonfuls of goat cheese on each plate or on the serving platter after the spaghetti and roasted tomato sauce are mixed together.

Add fresh ricotta cheese to the spaghetti and roasted cherry tomatoes. Serve the pasta meal with a tablespoonful of fresh ricotta cheese on the side.

Add shrimp to the sauce. Five minutes before the tomatoes finish roasting, scatter peeled and seasoned shrimp on the roasting pan with the tomatoes. Roast until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Toss the shrimp and tomatoes with spaghetti or another choice of pasta.

Serve roasted cherry tomatoes on the side with lamb chops or other grilled or roasted meats or fish

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

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Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Roasted cherry or grape tomatoes develop a lovely concentrated sweetness and a melty and silky texture perfect for pasta sauce. In this recipe the tomatoes roast along with fresh herbs, garlic, and shallots for an extra flavor boost.

I listed two amounts of pasta in the recipe. Use either a half-pound or a full pound of pasta with 2 lbs. of cherry tomatoes. If you are in the camp that pasta is the main and featured ingredient, then cook the full pound. Yet, if you are like me and enjoy more add-ins with a pasta meal, then a half-pound is preferable. This way you get more tomatoes with each bite. A half-pound of pasta with the roasted cherry tomato sauce is enough for 4 servings.   

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian American
Keyword roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted tomato pasta sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) cherry or grape tomatoes washed and dried
  • 8 cloves of garlic peel intact
  • 4-6 small shallots peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 TB (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil plus more for finishing
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • A few rounds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh herbs like basil or thyme
  • ½ - 1 lb. (250 - 500 g) pasta like spaghetti linguine, or see note
  • Romano Cheese for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place the oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Keep the skins on each garlic clove, but trim off the root end. This will make peeling the roasted garlic easier when the cloves are hot. If any of the garlic cloves are large, slice them in half lengthwise with the skins still on.

  3. Depending on how large your shallots are, slice them in half lengthwise or in fourths lengthwise if they are too big. 

  4. Add the tomatoes, garlic cloves and shallots to a rimmed baking sheet or shallow flameproof baking pan, large enough to hold the vegetables in one layer. You do not want the pan to be too big or the juices from the tomatoes will dry up in the oven. 

  5. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, garlic, and shallots, then sprinkle them with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss in half of the fresh herbs, then use your clean hands and mix until all the vegetables are nicely coated with olive oil.  

  6. Slide the pan into the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After twenty minutes check the tomatoes if they are soft and starting to split. Also, the garlic will look soft and starting to brown, along with the shallots. You can stop roasting now or roast an additional 5 -10 minutes more to really soften the tomatoes and garlic. Once done to your liking remove from the oven. 

  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Cook the pasta al dente, just done with a little bite in the middle. Remove the pasta from the water and add to a bowl. Reserve some pasta water to deglaze the pan and add to the sauce. Ideally, you want to time it, so the pasta is done at the same time as the tomatoes.  

  8. Right after you take the tomatoes out of the oven, carefully (the garlic is very hot) remove the papery skin from the roasted garlic. You can add the garlic cloves back in with the tomatoes whole or chop them up.  

  9. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and shallots to the spaghetti scraping as much of the pan juices to the bowl. If your pan juices dried up, set the roasting pan over two burners then add some pasta water and deglaze the pan. Reduce the juices then add to the pasta and tomatoes. 

  10. Toss the spaghetti to get the tomatoes evenly mixed in. Add a little more pasta water if it seems dry. Sprinkle the remaining fresh basil over the pasta and drizzle with more olive oil. (This is a good place for adding your best quality olive oil.) Serve immediately with grated Romano cheese and fresh black pepper. 

Recipe Notes

I believe just about any shape pasta will taste nice with the roasted cherry tomato sauce. Spaghetti and linguine are traditional choices, but tubular or unusual pasta shapes like campanelle are nice. I recommend shying away from flat pasta shapes like bow ties, farfalle, or ones that are small.

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs. Oven roasted cherry tomatoes make the most luscious sauce perfect for pasta. Fresh cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallots and fresh herbs gently roast till soft and just beginning to caramelize, making the sauce silky and full of flavor.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

This is just one of those recipes that came to me in the middle of doing something else, that is completely unrelated, like weeding. Surely, my mind was elsewhere and not focused on what I needed to accomplish. Sometimes food ideas and inspiration just grow out of me at the most unexpected times. Clearly, I must have been subconsciously dreaming of the adobo sauce I made from one of my favorite Mexican food resources, Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez. It was so much easier than I expected and now I have a bowlful of this delicious smoky chili purée. What to make? Out of the blue, my mind forced me to stop whatever I was doing and pushed forward an idea for grilled chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt adobo sauce.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

Here is my dream come to reality with a recipe for grilled chicken kebabs made using an adobo sauce and yogurt marinade, just because yogurt makes everything so tender, and mixed in with well-seasoned thick pieces of chicken thighs. The chicken kebabs cook quickly over a hot grill and taste remarkable with something fruity, crispy and sweet, like fresh corn and mango avocado salsa.

Trying Something New

I always hesitate when I make a new recipe with dried chili peppers because I never know how hot it will taste. But the more I cook with fresh and dried chilies, the more familiar I get with their multi-dimensional flavors. Every cuisine appears to have a sauce (or two) made with hot chilies and spices that are quite addictive.

Adobo sauce is another one of the great sauces with a pleasing smoky dried chili flavor mixed with vinegar and other spices. It is that acid chili pepper combo that just tastes so amazing and keeps me coming back for more. Adobo is not as acidic as Asian chili sauces like Sriracha. It is much subtler with the chilies as the more prominent taste.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

Adobo Sauce

To make your own adobo sauce, use dried guajillo and/or ancho chilies if you can find them. They are not as hot as other dried chilies and are the traditional chilies used in adobo sauce. These chilies have mild heat with smoky and fruity flavors. Making the sauce is not complicated. Toast then soak the chili peppers, then purée the chilies, garlic, herbs, and apple cider vinegar until smooth. That’s it. The most difficult part of making the sauce is sourcing the dried chilies. You can find them at well-stocked grocery stores or Mexican markets. Another bonus with making adobo sauce is, you can make it ahead and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or, you can freeze adobo sauce in an airtight container for one month.

I noticed this recipe from Roberto Santibañez is a basic adobo sauce and uses significantly less vinegar than other adobo sauce recipes I’ve read. Also, some adobo sauces include spices like cinnamon and cloves or paprika. You can play around with the ingredients just keep in mind that the chilies are the prominent flavor and the seasonings are in the background.

Store bought Adobo Sauce

However, do not let the extra step of making the adobo sauce deter you from making grilled adobo chicken kebabs. You can make a pseudo adobo sauce with canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. If you can find store-bought adobo sauce all the better. Chipotle chilies are spicier and smokier than guajillo or ancho chilies, so the sauce will taste different, but it is an easy substitute. Just purée the chipotle chilies with the adobo sauce using as much of the adobo sauce as possible. You may not need all of the chipotle chilies to make a half cup of sauce. Most importantly, do not confuse adobo seasoning with adobo sauce. They are not the same thing.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

Adobo Chicken Kebabs

What I love about the adobo chicken kebabs is they are perfect for many meals. Eat the adobo chicken kebabs hot off the grill with a fruit salsa like my recipe for Mango Avocado Salsa. They also taste great paired with something creamy like Mexican Crema, yogurt sauce or crème fraîche. Anything Goes Potato Salad is another perfect side dish with the sweet fresh corn and bright fresh vegetables to contrast with the smoky chili flavored chicken. Also, try Creamy Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, with grilled adobo chicken kebabs. The lemon cream dressing, jalapeño peppers, and capers will compliment the adobo along with the fresh mozzarella and ripe heirloom tomatoes.

Mix It Up

To mix things up, make fajitas with Adobo chicken kebabs with poblano rajas, sautéed strips of poblano peppers and white onions, instead of bell peppers. Using my recipe (linked above) for creamy poblano sauce, follow the instructions up to the step before you process the vegetables into the creamy sauce.

Adobo yogurt marinade is perfect for any type of chicken either grilled or roasted. Try it with a spatchcock chicken or other bone-in chicken pieces, either grilled or roasted. You can marinate bone-in chicken for a longer time than boneless chicken, but not more than 8 hours. Chicken gets mushy if marinated for too long.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

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Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs recipe.

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs

Grilled chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt adobo sauce gets so tender and full of flavor. The adobo sauce adds a wonderful smokiness with bright flavors from the chilis and apple cider vinegar. There are so many variations you can do with adobo chicken kebabs. Serve them as is with fresh corn or a fruit salsa. Or, you can use the chicken kebabs and make chicken tacos or fajitas with poblanos rajas and Crema Mexicana or crème frâiche. See blog post for poblanos rajas recipe. 

Also, adobo sauce tastes delicious with shrimp or fish so you should have no problem using up the sauce. If you do not want to make the adobo sauce, buy a 7 oz can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and purée until smooth. Try to add as much adobo sauce into your purée by scraping it off the chilis. You may not need all the chipotles. This sauce may be spicier and smokier than if you made the adobo from scratch.

Adobo sauce recipe is from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Adobo Chicken, Adobo Sauce, Chicken kebabs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
marinating time 2 hours
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 5 people
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Adobo Chicken Kebabs

  • 2 lbs (1 k) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp (3 g) Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (1 g) granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp (1 g) dried onion
  • 1 ½ tsp (2 g) Mexican oregano or Italian oregano
  • 1 tsp (less than a gram) ground coriander
  • A few rounds of black pepper
  • ½ cup (125 ml) plain yogurt or buttermilk (see note)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) adobo sauce or ½ cup (125 ml) of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce puréed
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) apple cider vinegar or more to taste
  • Vegetable oil for the grill

Adobo Sauce from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez

  • 3 ounces (75 g) guajillo chilies about 12
  • ¾ cup (185 ml) water plus water for soaking the chilies
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp (22.5 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp (4.5 g) Kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp (4 g) granulated sugar
  • Rounded ¼ tsp of ground cumin
  • 9 inch 23 cm bamboo skewers or metal skewers for the kebabs

Instructions

For the chicken

  1. Cut the chicken thighs up into 1 ½ inch chunks.
  2. Place the cut up chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the Kosher salt, dried garlic, dried onion, oregano, ground coriander and black pepper. Mix the spices in the chicken turning the chicken pieces over with your hands until the spices are evenly mixed. Set aside on the counter.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the yogurt, adobo sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Mix until smooth and well incorporated.
  4. Pour the yogurt adobo sauce into the bowl with the chicken and thoroughly mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for two hours or up to 6 hours.

  5. 30 minutes before you want to start cooking your kebabs, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  6. Take your bowl of chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you want to start grilling to bring the chicken up to room temperature.
  7. When the skewers are sufficiently soaked, thread the chicken pieces on the skewers. I fit 6 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Be careful not to pack the chicken in too tight and therefore will take longer to cook. Set the chicken kebabs on a tray when done.

  8. In the meantime, get your grill ready. Prepare your gas or charcoal grill for a medium-hot fire.

Grill the Kebabs

  1. When the coals and grill grate are nice and hot, add some oil to a wad of paper towels. Hold onto your paper towel wad with long barbecue tongs and rub oil over the hot grill grate.

  2. Place the kebabs on a diagonal over the grate directly over the heat source. Grill the kebabs for 3 minutes then turn them over to the other side. Grill that side for 3 minutes. Continue cooking the chicken kebabs turning them over every 2 minutes until they are done, the internal temperature is 165°F (74°C). You might need to sacrifice one piece of chicken and cut it open to see if it is done. The total cooking time should be around 8 – 12 minutes depending on how hot your grill is.

  3. If the chicken kebabs are getting too charred, move them over to the side of the grill not directly over the coals or heat source. 

  4. When done, place the kebabs on a tray and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Adobo Sauce

  1. Prepare your chilies. Wipe the chiles clean and remove the stems. Slice each chili open down the side and remove the seeds and the veins as best you can.
  2. Heat a heavy-duty skillet or griddle to medium-low heat. (I used a non-stick electric griddle set at 325 - 350°F, (173°-176°C). It was great to fit all the chilies on the griddle in one fell swoop.) Toast the chilies turning them over until they slightly change color, soften and become fragrant About one minute. While you are toasting the chilies, press down on them to get as much of the surface area touching the hot surface.

  3. Add the toasted chilis to a bowl filled with enough cold water to cover the chilies for 30 minutes. Remove the chilies from the water and place them in a bowl of a blender or food processor. Discard the soaking water.
  4. Add ¾ cup of fresh water to the processor with the chilies, the garlic, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, and cumin. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add more water to thin the purée as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you want a smooth and silky purée, press the adobo through a fine mesh strainer fitted over a bowl.

  5. Makes 1 ½ cups (375 ml) of adobo sauce 

Recipe Notes

You want to use plain yogurt, not Greek yogurt for the marinade. It is best if the marinade is not too thick. If Greek yogurt is all you have then thin it out with some milk or buttermilk. You can also substitute buttermilk for the yogurt. 

There is enough marinade for 3 pounds of chicken if you need to cook for a larger crowd. There is no need to make more marinade for the additional pound. 

Grilled Adobo Chicken Kebabs Recipe. A recipe for grilled adobo chicken kebabs. Seasoned chicken is marinated in a yogurt adobo sauce. This marinade creates very tender chicken kebabs with a slightly smoky chili flavor.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Building A Charcuterie Platter

Building a charcuterie platter.

It is time to take advantage of the remaining warm summer nights and enjoy an evening with friends, sparkling wine, and charcuterie. Entertaining does not get any easier than this. There is no cooking unless you want to make the pâté or a spread. Just assemble and relax.  What you place on your charcuterie platter is up to you, but you want to keep in mind how many people you are entertaining, variety in texture and flavor, plus add your personal stamp to the meal.  A charcuterie platter is a perfect meal for hot summer nights when it is too hot to cook, or just enjoying a sunset from your deck with friends.

But what is a charcuterie platter? By definition, charcuterie is a French name for a deli, or market, that sells cured meats, especially pork. Charcuterie also means the products that are sold in a charcuterie. With that understanding, a charcuterie platter is a platter or tray layered with smoked and cured meats and other specialty food items, like cheese and pickles.

Traditionally, a charcuterie platter is very meat focused and consists of a variety of cured meats like prosciutto, soppressata, and pâtés, with add-ins like pickles, spicy mustard, bread, or crackers. However, for my platter, and because I believe it is still in the realm of the definition of a charcuterie platter, I added cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.

Building A Charcuterie Platter.

How to Build a Charcuterie Platter

How does one put together all those different foods so that it looks appealing and covers all the bases of complementary tastes and contrasting textures? First, organize all your ingredients in groups, then arrange all of the ingredients in a decorative yet easy to reach manner.

Building a Charcuterie Platter.

Meats

Start with the meats. A good rule to follow is 2 oz of meat per person. Charcuterie platters contain very rich foods, so you do not want to overdo it. Pick three types of cured meat with different flavors and textures. The meats pictured on my charcuterie platter are soppressata, prosciutto, and bresaola. These three types of cured meats offer a variety in texture and flavor, although a subtle one. A common rule is, have meat that you slice like the soppressata, one meat that comes sliced, like prosciutto, and meat that you spread like pâté.

Other meat selections for slicing are Genoa salami, smoked sausage or ham (you can heat those up as well), and capicola.

Other meats you buy sliced are Guanciale or Mortadella.

Meats for spreading are smooth or chunky pâtés or terrines.

What is missing on my charcuterie board is pâté because my family does not care for it. Smoked fish or gravlax is also a nice alternative and an option for people who do not like pork or beef. Keep in mind you want to make something that you know you and your guests will enjoy.

Building a Charcuterie Platter.

Cheese

Similar to the cured meats, it is nice to have 3 different types of cheese on your charcuterie board as well. Although, if you want this to be charcuterie platter that is more meat-focused, one selection of cheese is fine.

Like the meats, your cheeses should have different textures and flavors. I usually follow this rule for building a cheese board, one soft rind triple cream cheese, one hard or sharp-tasting cheese, and one blue cheese. The possibilities are endless. If you do not like blue cheese swap in a soft goat cheese.

For my charcuterie platter, I selected Red Hawk a triple cream cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Blue, from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., and Manchego.

Other cheese selections are:

For your triple cream cheese, try Kunik, (which is one of the best cheeses out there), Saint André, or a triple creme brie.

Any blue cheese, or goat cheese like Montechevere,

Other dry or aged cheese selections are Asiago or provolone or an Aged Gouda. These cheese pair nicely with the meats.

Building a Charcuterie Platter.

Add-ins

This is where you can get creative and add your personal spin to a charcuterie platter. Yet, keep in mind the additional accoutrements have a purpose other than tasting great and looking pretty. The add-ins provide a break from the rich meats and cheeses, provide textural contrast,  and clear the palate.

Fill your platter with a wide selection of any of these foods.

Fruits like figs, grapes, berries or dried fruits like apricots or figs are nice selections.

Pickles like cornichons are a must, but you can use other pickled vegetables like carrots, fennel, and chilies.

Briny olives like Kalamata or good green olives.

Fresh vegetables like fennel, cucumber, radishes, or carrots add an important textural contrast with their crisp crunch and are very refreshing.

Mustard is also an important ingredient to a charcuterie platter as they complement the cured meat wonderfully.

Jams like hot pepper jelly or fig jam. If you can find hot pepper jam it is one of my favorite jams with cheese. The sweet and spicy jelly is addictive.

Spreads like hummus and tapenade taste great with charcuterie.

Nuts. Any nut like walnuts, almonds or pistachios you can’t go wrong. Just make sure there are no nut allergies before you add them to your platter.

Building a charcuterie platter.

The list is long, but choose a selection of three fruits and/or vegetables, with a couple of specialty items. Don’t be redundant. If you have olive tapenade, do not put out olives. If you have fig jam don’t put out fresh figs, pick another fruit instead. Although, when in season fresh figs are delicious with charcuterie.

Just remember one thing, do not forget the mustard, sweet or spicy or both, it doesn’t matter. In France, it is sacrilegious to serve charcuterie without mustard.

Serve

It is nice to arrange everything on one platter and serve with bread or crispy crackers. You can also arrange your charcuterie selection on more than one platter. This is especially important if some of your guests eat a plant-based diet. They might not want their selections mixed in with the meats or cheeses. By the middle of the evening, the charcuterie platter will get messy, so it is thoughtful of you to keep the foods separate. Serving the charcuterie selections on multiple platters works well for larger parties when you will have more meats to arrange on your board.

Toasted French baguette makes a more substantial selection and looks nice when sliced thin on the diagonal. I especially like to serve charcuterie with bread when I want my charcuterie platter to be a meal. Thin crispy plain crackers work well with the cheese and meats too. Also, I found people really enjoy breadsticks as well.

Serve your charcuterie platter at room temperature. You will need to slice the meats and cheeses when they are cold, but everything tastes better when they are at room temperature.

Building a charcuterie platter.

Beverages

Chilled sparkling wines like a Spanish Cava or an Italian Prosecco, Lambrusco, or a dry rosé are perfect for this type of meal, especially on hot summer nights. Some dry reds that are not too heavy pair nicely as well. Dry sparkling wines help cut the richness of the cheese and meats and clear the palate so you can keep on sampling.

Beer is another good beverage of choice, but I would not do anything too rich. I really enjoyed the pairing of a red ale with my Irish Cheese Platter, so I imagine it works with charcuterie as well.

My son Andrew recommends Saisons because they are dry and spicy, or a good Pilsner. These types of beer will help clear the palate. He also loves Lambic, a Belgium Sour, with charcuterie. Low alcohol beers work nicely because they do not fill you up and you can easily snack on your charcuterie.

For a non-alcohol beverage, seltzer is perfect. Mixed in with lime, or lemon and/or cucumber is very refreshing and helps clear the palate. Anything bubbly that is not sweet. Stay away from soda. You won’t taste the charcuterie if you are drinking a coke.

Building A Charcuterie Platter.

I hope you enjoy the remains of summer and the ease of the season with charcuterie and friends.

Building a Charcuterie Platter. A how to guide for making a delicious charcuterie platter. This charcuterie platter is filled with cured meats, cheese, pickles, fruit, vegetables, hot pepper jelly, mustard, and nuts.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Damn the weather is funky this week, it is hard to believe it is July. There has been so much rain, I feel like I am living in a rainforest. Where did the summer go? I know rain is good for my garden, fills our reservoirs, and calms the earth, but man this constant shower is dreary. Before the deluge, I planned on making more recipes from my grill, but sadly these plans got flooded out. Fortunately, I could easily change plans with a chicken skewer recipe that has all the charm of a grilled dinner without lighting a match, Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Seared chicken skewers are as easy to prepare as threading a needle. Ribbons of herb marinated chicken strips get skewered through rosemary stems then seared on a stove top grill pan or skillet. Once the chicken skewers get good and golden, they are popped in a hot oven to finish cooking in a wine bath. It may sound like a lot of steps, but the two-part cooking process goes by very quickly and effortlessly.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary Recipe.

Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe.

La Cucina Italiana

I first discovered the idea of using rosemary stems as skewers several years ago in La Cucina Italiana magazine, the English version, (May 2013). If you wish to browse through this lovely magazine online, you will need your browser to translate the pages for you. This picturesque magazine is all about Italian cuisine and Italy, and I only have this one volume. Their chicken skewer recipe is part of a feature on cooking with fresh herbs. I spotted their Spiedini di Pollo Marinato alle Erbe recipe, (which means herb marinated chicken skewers) because it uses woody rosemary stems for the skewers. What a clever use of something one would normally throw out.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

We always have a lot of rosemary around our house because Joe makes a delicious sourdough olive rosemary bread for Rochambeau Farm Stand. Sometimes there is a lot of rosemary left over so I am always looking for recipes to use up any leftover sprigs. Fortunately, we buy our rosemary at a restaurant supply store and can get rosemary sprigs that are 10 to 12 inches long. These woody sprigs make the best skewers for grilling and a great substitute for bamboo skewers if you can get them.

Seared chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Chicken Skewers with Rosemary

I love cooking with fresh herbs and use them whenever I can. A simple scattering of fresh herbs like basil, tarragon or rosemary lifts any food from standard fare to interesting and uplifting.  This herb marinade is a good example of how using fresh herbs can make a big difference in flavor. It just wouldn’t taste the same if you made the marinade with dried herbs.

The only change I made is adding minced garlic to the marinade and Kosher salt to the chicken before adding the marinade. Adding the salt first gives the salt time to steep in the chicken meat. Boneless skinless chicken breasts need a lot of help developing flavor and I wanted the chicken to taste seasoned without being salty.

I thought the original recipe needed some more oomph, so I added a lot of garlic. What I then realized is this marinade is very similar to the marinade in my Lemon Herb Roast Chicken Recipe.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

A bonus using this marinade is there is no acid to turn the chicken breasts mushy. As a result, you can easily prepare the marinade and chicken in advance, then skewer and cook the chicken right before you plan on eating.

Another aspect I like about this recipe is the two stages for cooking the chicken. First, you sear the chicken skewers, which only takes about 2 minutes per side, then the skewers are roasted in a very hot oven with some white wine. This creates a moist chicken with a light tasting pan sauce. This pan sauce helps keep the chicken tender and adds another layer of flavor to your meal.

If you wish, and already have the grill going for another food, sear the chicken skewers on your grill, then finish cooking them in the oven as directed.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Is It Done Yet?

The most difficult part about this recipe is determining when the chicken is done. Everything else is very straightforward. Like chicken kebab, the chicken gets packed in on the skewer making it difficult to determine when it is done. It is important to check the pieces in the middle of the skewer where it is compact and thus need a longer time to cook. Getting a good look at the inside of the chicken is difficult therefore a good instant read thermometer is your best tool for the job. I love my Thermapen thermometer, but any fast and reliable instant-read thermometer will work.

Vegetable Side dishes for Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary

These chicken skewers will pair well with many vegetables and sides. Here are just a few from my blog.

Asparagus and Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe

Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus with orange mayonnaise and Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Asparagus with Orange Mayonnaise

Zucchini fritters and seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe.

Zucchini Fritters

Marinated Zucchini and Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe.

Marinated Zucchini

Grilled Vegetables with seared chicken skewers recipe.

Grilled Vegetables

Garden Pasta Salad with Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe.

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

Check out my new Recipe Index. It is now easier to look up a recipe on my blog by clicking on a category in the recipe index. It is easy to read on a laptop or desktop computer. Unfortunately, the index and categories get spread out when viewing from a mobile device like your phone. You can find my recipe index at the top menu on my home page. 

Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe. Moist chicken skewers made with chicken marinated in a fresh herb marinade and threaded on woody rosemary stems.
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Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary recipe.

Seared Chicken Skewers with Rosemary

Chicken skewers are marinated in a fresh herb and garlic marinade then threaded on woody rosemary stems. If you cannot get long and sturdy rosemary stems, use bamboo skewers instead. The two-part cooking process of first searing the chicken, then roasting the skewers in the oven produces tender chicken skewers with great fresh herb flavor. 

You can get long and woody rosemary sprigs at farmers markets, restaurant supply stores, or wholesale stores. 

Seared Chicken Skewers with rosemary is an easy family meal or great for entertaining. 

Depending on how big each chicken breast is, there is enough chicken for 4 people with hearty appetites or 6 to 8 people served with two other side dishes. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword chicken, chicken skewers
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb. (1 k -1.5 k) boneless skinless chicken breast -4 breasts
  • 1 tsp (3 g) Kosher salt

Herb marinade

  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 heaping TB (10 g) heaping Tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon (1 g) thyme lemon thyme if you can get it
  • 1 TB (1.5 g) minced parsley
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) 70 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for searing the chicken

Final touches

  • 8 - 10 bamboo skewers or long woody rosemary stems
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine or dry vermouth Like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Instructions

  1. Press on the chicken breast so they have an even thickness. You do not have to pound them out, just even them out a little. Slice each breast lengthwise into  ¼ inch (.5 cm) slices. Add the chicken ribbons to a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken without crowding them and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Using clean hands, mix the chicken with the salt until it is evenly incorporated. Thoroughly wash your hands and the bowl of chicken aside.  

Prepare the herb marinade

  1. In a small bowl add the minced garlic, minced rosemary, thyme, minced parsley, lemon zest, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Remember to wash your hands after you mix the chicken before you touch anything else. 

  2. Add the herb marinade to the chicken and toss with your hands until the chicken strips are evenly covered in the herb marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hrs.

Cook the Chicken

  1. If you are using rosemary stems, cut the end to make a pointed tip for easy threading. Soak the bamboo skewers or woody rosemary stems in water for 30 minutes. Bring the chicken out of the refrigerator to rest on the counter and come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C / Gas Mark 8. Slide the oven rack in the middle position. 

  3. Thread each skewer with the chicken slices. You can roll up each slice and spear it on the skewers, or weave each slice of chicken, over and under the skewer creating a ribbon of chicken. Squish the threaded chicken to make room for another slice. Depending on the length of each skewer, you can fit 3 to 4 slices of chicken on each skewer. Be careful not to pack the chicken in too tightly. 

  4. Heat a grill pan or a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the grill pan is good and hot, add the chicken skewers to the pan. Only add enough skewers to not crowd the pan, about 3-4 skewers. Sear the chicken until nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and sear the other side, about 2 minutes more. 

  5. Place the seared chicken skewers in a baking dish large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer without overcrowding, but small enough so the liquid won’t dry out when cooked. See Note. 

  6. Continue to sear the remaining skewers in batches until all the chicken is seared. 

  7. Add the white wine or dry vermouth to the baking dish holding the chicken skewers. Add more if the wine does not cover the bottom of the pan.

  8. Place the chicken in the oven and roast until done, about 10 minutes. Start checking the chicken at around 8 minutes. A good instant read thermometer is your best tool here for determining if the chicken is done. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F / 74° C. Once done, take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  9. Serve hot with pan juices with grilled asparagus or zucchini. 

Recipe Notes

The original recipe calls for a 9" x 13" (23 x 33 cm)  baking dish. That is a little too small to fit 8 skewers without overlapping. Often, I needed to nestle each skewer around the dish with some laying vertical and others horizontal at the top and bottom of the dish. Trim each skewer to help them fit easily in the pan. Other times I used a larger baking dish 15" x 10.5" (38 x 27 cm) which is a tad too big. When I use a bigger baking dish I add more wine to make sure the liquid covers the bottom of the pan, so it does not dry out in the oven. 

 

Seared chicken skewers with rosemary recipe. Moist chicken skewers made with chicken marinated in a fresh herb marinade and threaded on woody rosemary stems.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style. Recipe.

In Spain they call it, a la plancha. Italians refer to it as, a la piastra. In Greece, on a staz. No matter what you call it, it’s a centuries old Mediterranean technique for grilling vegetables, fish and meats. In Spain they use a round metal plate, but in Greece they use a piece of sheet metal placed directly on the grill.  From Italy, a stone or a metal plate creates a hot flat surface over an open flame. Essentially, it is a flat metal or stone griddle, set over a grill grate over an open flame. Mediterranean cooks know how to grill their vegetables because these grilled vegetables never tasted so good.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

This technique does not produce fancy crisscross grill marks on your grilled vegetables, but what you do get are tender vegetables that retain some bite and have a good sear from the stone or griddle. Ultimately, the more surface area that touches the vegetables, means more flavor on your grilled vegetables from the sear. Another bonus is, no more vegetables falling through the grates and flare ups. Mediterranean style grilled vegetables are sweet, lightly flavored from the fire’s smoke, and seared to perfection.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

A New Way with Grilled Vegetables

It all started yesterday on an impulse after coming upon the phrase, “… a la piastra,” in one of my cookbooks. It was an “Ah ha” moment for me with the realization of a refrigerator full of vegetables and an old cast iron griddle begging for use.  With my fingers crossed and plans for dinner and a blog post on the horizon, I decided to give “A la piastra” grilling technique a try. It was just meant to be.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

I do love the flavor of grilled vegetables, but when I grill chicken or meats, I don’t always grill vegetables for a side dish. Mainly, I do not want my whole dinner tasting all the same. Also, depending on how many people we are cooking for, there is just no room on my 22-inch charcoal grill.

Because this was somewhat impulsive, and I was “recipe testing”, I did not cook the vegetables in an organized manner, but fit the different vegetables here and there along with our dinner of stuffed rainbow trout. I was not sure how long the grill would stay hot, so I cooked things together instead of one at a time. Regardless of my cooking organization, I don’t mind a hodgepodge of grilled vegetables because my job was to use up a bunch of vegetables and test out this grilling technique. I call this mission a delicious success, hodgepodge or not. Now, I have a beautiful mess of tasty grilled vegetables ready whenever I want them.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

Grilled rainbow trout with grilled garlic scapes and grilled lemons

Grilled Vegetables a la Piastra

What I discovered is if you have a cast iron pan or griddle, they create a hot surface to make delicious grilled vegetables, fish and meets. I have yet to test other types of food, but I can’t imagine there is an issue using this technique for shellfish, chicken or steak. Grilling a la piastra or plancha, works particularly well with thin vegetables or sliced vegetables that would normally fall through the spaces on a grill grate. I loved using this technique with thinly sliced zucchini, asparagus, sliced onions, and garlic scapes. Some additional vegetables I want to try are fennel, eggplant and mushrooms.

It is my opinion that grilling bell peppers works better over the open grill grate. They just took longer to get blistered and charred when on the hot surface vs the grill grates. Also corn works better over the open fire and by better, I mean it does not take as long to cook.

Fruit like lemons and oranges grill nicely on a hot plate, but my mind is not made up for peaches. My peach halves stuck to both the grill grate and the cast iron griddle, but this was also the first time I grilled peaches.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

Grilled toast with ricotta cheese and minced grilled garlic scapes and leeks.

How to Grill Vegetables a la Piastra

First, this technique is best using a charcoal grill, but I believe will work with a gas grill, but you won’t get the smoky flavor. Using either grill you must make a hot fire that will last for a while depending on how much food you are grilling. Get the charcoal good and hot, then place the griddle pan or stone on your grate. Heat up your griddle surface for 15 minutes until the surface gets really hot. Close the lid if you are using a gas grill, keep the lid off if you are using a charcoal grill.

Once the grill is hot, oil the grill grate. Do not oil the hot griddle. It is possible that the oil soaked paper towel could burst into flames from the heat of the pan. Instead, generously coat the vegetables and fish in canola oil or other oil with a high smoke point. Arrange the vegetables on the surface of your “griddle” and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the vegetable.

Depending on the surface area of your plate, you will need to cook the vegetables in shifts. Just to be organized, cook the same vegetables all at the same time. Once done, remove the vegetables off the grill and place them spaced out on a tray or plate. If you pile them up, the vegetables will steam and get soggy.

Once done, let the grill plate cool completely before handling. If possible, use tongs and a scrubby to scrape off any stuck on bits while the surface is still hot. It is easier to clean off the charred bits when the plate is still hot, but not at the expense of getting burned.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

Equipment for Grilling Vegetables

  • You need a grill, preferably a charcoal grill but a gas one will work fine.
  • Good quality charcoal without lighter fluid and a charcoal chimney to start the coals.
  • BBQ quality oven mitt or glove.
  • A cast iron pan or griddle, pizza stone, baking steel or food grade metal or stone surface that can tolerate temperature up to 700°F (371°C). Some pizza stones can only withstand temperatures up to 500°F (260°C) or lower.
  • Long metal BBQ tongs without plastic tips.
  • A good BBQ spatula.
  • Several trays for putting the grilled vegetables on.
  • A timer is helpful

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style, recipe.

What to do with all these grilled vegetables?

Serve grilled vegetables with grilled fish, grilled tofu, grilled chicken or steak, or roast chicken.

Assemble a platter of grilled vegetables, olives, cured meats, cheeses and crusty bread. Dine al fresco for a light dinner or a cocktail party.

Serve grilled vegetables as an appetizer made with grilled toasts and ricotta cheese topped with grilled vegetables.

Make a light pesto dressing with muddled basil leaves, smashed garlic, olive oil and vinegar and dress the grilled vegetables.

Grilled vegetable sandwiches with crusty bread, basil mayo or sriracha mayo, with Gouda or mozzarella cheese (smoked or plain) and grilled vegetables.

Frittata with grilled vegetables.

Where to buy a La Plancha griddle pan?

The Big Green Egg has a la plancha griddle for the Big Green Egg. It could work on other round grills depending on the size of the pan and your grill. (Not an add)

Lodge makes a round carbon steel griddle pan. They also make griddle pans in different sizes, shapes and materials. (Not an add)

Sur la Table has a variety of options with an Emile Henry Flame Charcoal Pizza Stone, Swissmare Raclette Granite Stone, Baking Steel Griddle, Lodge round griddle. Plus many more. (Not an add)

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Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style. Recipe.

Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style

Grilling vegetables is so easy when you use a griddle surface on top of a charcoal or gas grill. This grilling surface prevents vegetables from falling through the cracks of the grate or incinerating tender vegetables from sudden flare ups. I had an old cast iron griddle pan that served as a perfect surface on top of my grill, but a 12-inch cast iron skillet or baking steel will work nicely. A stone surface also works if it can withstand temperatures up to 700°F (371°C). My grill pan has a surface area of 16 x 10 inches (40.5 x 25.5 cm). Any food grade metal or stone surface with a surface area of 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) or larger will work nicely as long as it fits on your grill. This is a grilling technique originating from the Mediterranean and possibly first developed in Spain. Serve hot or at room temperature. Grilled vegetables are best eaten the day they are made but will last if kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Course Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword grilled vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Heating a charcoal grill 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red onion sliced into rings about ¼-inch .5 cm thick
  • 1-2 leeks sliced in half lengthwise, cleaned and root and dark green parts trimmed off
  • 4-6 garlic cloves peel on
  • 2 zucchini sliced lengthwise into ¼- inch .5 cm thick slices
  • 1 yellow squash sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch .5 cm thick slices
  • 12 or more asparagus spears ends trimmed
  • 8 garlic scapes optional
  • 2 lemons cut in half across the width.
  • 1 peach cut in half across the equator optional
  • 2 ears of corn husk and silk threads removed optional
  • 1 fennel bulb stalks removed and sliced in 1/4 -inch (.5 cm) slices (optional)
  • 2-3 TB Canola oil or other oil with a high smoke point
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf French bread sliced on a diagonal optional
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB Red wine vinegar
  • 1 large bunch of basil leaves cleaned and stems removed

Instructions

  1. Prepare your grill. If using a gas grill, heat to 450°F (230°C). For a charcoal grill, fill a charcoal chimney to the top with charcoal. Rest the chimney on the charcoal grate. Light the chimney according to manufacture instructions. Heat the charcoal until all the coals are very hot. They will look mostly grey with streaks of black throughout each lump or briquette. Put on an BBQ mitt and carefully empty the hot charcoal onto the grate. Add an additional half chimney’s worth of charcoal and spread out over the hot charcoal. Arrange the charcoal over the bottom of the whole grate, but with one side having more charcoal than the other. Place the top grilling grate on the grill and the grill pan over the side with the most charcoal. Heat until the grill pan and grate are good and hot, about 15 minutes. Close lid if using a gas grill. The grill pan is hot when you flick water on the grill pan and it bubbles up and dances on the surface.
  2. While the grill is heating up, add the zucchini slices, asparagus and scapes in a large bowl and drizzle about 1 TB (15 ml) of oil over the prepared vegetables. Use the remaining oil to baste the remaining vegetables. Arrange the onion slices and leek halves on a sheet pan and baste with oil on both sides. Baste some oil over the cut surface of the cut lemons. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Kosher salt over the vegetables, except the bell peppers.
  3. When the grill is hot, arrange the bell peppers on the side of the grill without the grill pan. Every few minutes, use long tongs to turn the bell peppers over so the whole pepper gets a good char and is blistered, about 15 minutes. Once the bell peppers get black all over, place them in a medium bowl and tightly cover with foil and plastic wrap. Set aside to allow the peppers to steam in the bowl for at least 15 minutes.
  4. If using corn on the cob, place them on the grill grate with the bell peppers. Start the corn when you start the peppers. Cook the corn turning them periodically to get an even char on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total.
  5. Meanwhile, arrange the onion slices, garlic cloves and leeks on the grill pan. Cook for 2 minutes then turn over on the other side. You want the onions and leeks to get soft with a nice sear on both sides. Once done, remove from the grill and place on a tray. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The garlic is done, when you see some brown spots on the peel and they are soft in the middle.
  6. Place the lemon halves cut side down on the grill or grill pan and cook until a good sear develops on the cut side, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. When there is room on the grill pan, arrange the zucchini and yellow squash slices on the grate and cook about 2-3 minutes per side. You want browned surface on both sides and tender slices of squash with a slight crispness. Place the squash on a tray when done. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to evenly coat.
  8. Cook the asparagus and garlic scapes on the grill plate. Turning each asparagus spear and garlic scape over around 3 minutes per side. You want the asparagus and scapes to get soft but still have some bite. When done, place the vegetables on a tray. Lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat.
  9. If you are grilling the fennel add the fennel slices when there is room on the grill pan and cook 3 minutes per side, or until soft but still firm. Place on a tray when done. Sprinkle on Kosher salt and black pepper and toss to coat.
  10. Add the sliced French bread, if using, on the grill and toast until the bread is golden brown. How long it will take will depend on how hot your fire is at this time.
  11. When all the vegetables are cooked, remove the skins off the bell peppers by rubbing your hands over the charred skin and pulling off the skin until it is all clear. Do not run the bell pepper under water, or you will wash away all that delicious flavor you worked so hard to make. Clean hands and remove the core from each pepper and slice into slices.
  12. Remove the garlic peels off each clove. Take 1-2 grilled garlic cloves and rub it over the toasted French bread. Add any remaining cloves to the vegetable platter.
  13. Arrange all the vegetables on a platter in piles. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, and torn basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.
  14. Grilled garlic scapes taste great minced and placed on top of ricotta cheese toasts. Or, mince and add to the olive oil and fresh basil, then sprinkle over the grilled vegetables.
Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style. Mediterranean technique for grilling vegetables. Grilled vegetables develop a great sear when grilled on a stone or metal surface over an open flame.
Hodgepodge of Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean Style. Mediterranean technique for grilling vegetables. Grilled vegetables develop a great sear when grilled on a stone or metal surface over an open flame.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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