With the wide array of produce available at Balducci's, it is easy to experiment with the unusual as well as the familiar.
- Grilling vegetables: It is amazing how many vegetables take well to the grill. Eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, summer squash and onions are the obvious. Try other veggies like baby artichokes, thick carrot slices, even wedges of romaine lettuce for a "grilled Caesar salad" Toss veggies in a light coat of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until well charred. Enjoy hot or serve cold drizzled with vinegar and tossed with fresh herbs such as basil.
- Grilling fruits: Yes fruits. Grilled pears tossed with blue cheese, or peaches in the summer. Treat the same a veggies including the salt and pepper. Choose firm fruits. Ripeness is not as important as grilling caramelizes the sugars and brings out the sweetness.
- Roasting Vegetables: Perhaps the easiest way to maximize flavor of veggies. The key here is high heat (500 degrees F is greater). Simply toss the veggies lightly with olive oil, season well with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and place on a cookie sheet in a hot oven. Another key is to keep some space between the veggies on the cookie sheet. If they are too close together they will steam rather than roast. Typically the process will take about 15 minutes before the veggies are deeply caramelized. Vegetables that work well for this process are: Mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, winter squash, carrots, and almost anything!
- Think seasonally: We tend to forget that veggies have seasons! Although we pride ourselves on scouring the market for great produce all year, some things are just better during their peak seasons. They will be more abundant, more affordable, and have a higher content of vitamins during their peak season. Some examples of seasonal produce are:
- SPRING - asparagus, artichokes, peas, lettuces
- SUMMER - tomatoes, melons, peaches, summer squash, eggplant, corn.
- FALL - mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens
- WINTER - citrus fruits and produce from the Southern hemisphere