Grilling Fresh Fruits & Veggies

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Story by Dave Eckert

I don’t know if you’re like me, but if you are, you’re firing the grill up three or four nights a week, at least! By now, I’m sure you’ve grilled your share of burgers, brats, hot dogs, pork chops, steaks, and chicken. What’s left to sear, you might well be asking? How about fruits and veggies?

This issue, let’s think outside the box with some tips on expanding your grilling repertoire beyond proteins and into sides and desserts! And, who better to weigh in on the matter than Kansas City’s “Que Queens,” cookbook authors and grilling masters Judith Fertig and Karen Adler.

Fertig and Adler have combined forces on a great new book, Red, White, and ‘Que!

According to the authors, the book “celebrates a can-do, roll-up-your-sleeves spirit, taking your grilling, slow smoking, planking, and grill-roasting to the next level.”

Here are Fertig and Adler’s top five grilling tips, which you can apply to anything you plan on grilling. Numbers three and four are spot on when it comes to fruits and veggies on the grill.

1. Prepare a medium-hot to hot fire. You want grill marks and maybe a little char on your foods, or why grill? A hotter fire means that your food cooks faster and dries out less.

2. Grill once, eat twice. Grill more vegetables, fruits, chicken, fish, beef, etc., than what you need for one meal. Use leftovers in sandwiches, salads, and soups to maximize the time you spent at the grill.

3. Think of the whole meal. What else can you grill before you grill those chicken wings? What about bell peppers or asparagus or corn?

4. Grill lemon and lime halves. It’s something we don’t often think about, but the flavor of the grill shines through on these citrus fruits that can be used in drinks or vinaigrettes or simply squeezed over a grilled salmon fillet.

5. Plank it. One of the easiest things to do is put a salmon fillet or boneless skinless chicken breast on a cedar grilling plank, anoint the food with tapenade and olive oil, place the plank on the indirect or no-heat side of the grill, close the grill lid, and plank-cook for about 20 minutes.

Here is a recipe for grilled corn (a personal favorite of mine). Go online at for more great ideas and recipes. You can also find Red, White, and Que in bookstores all over town.

Happy grilling everyone!

Grilled Corn with Confetti Pepper Butter

Grilled sweet corn is a summer staple in backyards from sea to shining sea. Whether your favorite variety is Silver Queen or Peaches n’ Cream, you can be sure that a make-ahead confetti-colored butter will make grilled corn even better — if that’s possible.

  • Confetti Pepper Butter
  • 3 small confetti peppers in yellow, red, and orange
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 to 12 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked and the silks removed
  • Olive oil

For the Confetti Pepper Butter, stem, seed, and finely chop the peppers. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the peppers and garlic together for 2 minutes or until the peppers are just starting to soften. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a bowl using a fork, mash the peppers with the butter, Italian parsley, and salt until well blended. Spoon the butter into a ramekin or bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The butter may also be rolled into a log and covered with plastic wrap. Keep cold until ready to serve.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill. Grill the corn, turning frequently, until it has good grill marks all over, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve the corn on a platter or individual plates and slather with Confetti Pepper Butter.

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