Guest Author: Judith Fertig
Gardening and grilling are all about having foods you like. You might grow pots of patio tomatoes because you love the taste of fresh-picked. Or you might grow fava beans or edamame because they’re difficult to find fresh in the pod in your area. Likewise, you grill foods because that cooking process makes them taste better.
In our new book The Gardener and the Grill (Running Press), Karen Adler and I show you how to take those garden-fresh foods and grill them for maximum flavor and color.
Grilling is a very easy way to cook vegetables and fruits to retain their color and flavor. A simple brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt are all you need.
Herbs from your garden can also go into condiments, marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes that add an easy “wow factor” to simple grilled foods, such as hamburgers, chicken, steaks, fish fillets, shellfish, pork tenderloin or chops, and lamb.
Fresh-picked fruit from your garden and the heat of the grill can be a fabulous combination. Grilling fruit intensifies its flavor and sweetness. The look of grilled fruit is appealing, too, with deep brown grill marks that indicate caramelization plus a rustic appearance.
With more and more people talking about “farm to table,” we think it’s time for “garden to grill to table.” That said, it’s important to keep things simple. Gardening means you’re already spending time doing that, plus harvesting and readying the herbs/veggies/fruit for the grill. We’re going for techniques that are easy for beginners but satisfying enough for the experienced gardener and griller. We’ve also included some gardening tips, especially as they address the area around your outdoor kitchen or grill.
Our Grilled Peaches with Lemon Balm Gremolata shows just how easy it is to go from garden to grill, simply and deliciously.
Grilled Peaches with Lemon Balm Gremolata
Adapted from The Gardener and the Grill by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press).
This recipe is very simple, yet full of flavor. A traditional gremolata has parsley, lemon zest, and garlic, but this is a sweeter version delicious with fruit. If you don’t have lemon balm in your garden, substitute mint and add more lemon zest.
1/4 cup packed lemon balm leaves
1 tablespoon packed mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
4 peaches, halved and pitted
Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
On a cutting board, chop the lemon balm, mint, and lemon zest together until very fine. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the leaves and chop again. Set aside in a small bowl.
Place the peach halves cut side down on the grill. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the peaches are tender and blistered.
To serve, place 2 peach halves in each bowl and sprinkle the Lemon Balm Gremolata over all.
Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”
Check out her website for more information: http://www.thebbqqueens.com/