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Marinated Pepper Salad with Pine Nuts and Raisins

From Garden to Grill

The grill isn’t just for meat. Vegetables are also right at home cooked above a hot layer of coals. The grill’s smoke lends a unique flavor to vegetables, and the high heat draws out their natural sugars, caramelizing their surface for an irresistible bite. Grilled vegetables are vibrant and aromatic enough to stand on their own as an appetizer or main course.

From greens to dense roots, it is possible to grill almost any vegetable. The key is to take special care when grilling and to use the freshest produce available. Farmers’ markets and farm stands, grocery stores that feature local produce, and home gardens are often the best sources for fresh vegetables. Ideally, vegetables should be firm and unblemished with bright colors. Attached leaves should be full, not limp or wilted, and root ends, if any, should be dry.

Howie Velie, associate dean of culinary specializations at The Culinary Institute of America, offers these tips when preparing vegetables for the grill:

  • Give them a good rinse and allow them to dry well. It is especially important for vegetables to be dry if they are going to be coated with oil before grilling.
  • Parboil denser vegetables to help speed their grilling time. Place them in boiling salted water, or steam them, until they are slightly tender.
  • Brush a light coating of oil on the vegetables as well as on the cooking grate to keep the food from sticking.
  • To prevent a flare-up from too much oil dripping onto the burner or coals, shake off the excess oil from the vegetables before placing the items on the grill.

Feel free to grill other vegetables such as cauliflower, poblano peppers, and baby carrots to add in the following salad recipe. You can also include thin slices of celery, fresh basil or cilantro, or red onions. This recipe is a great accompaniment to grilled, roasted, or baked meats, fish, or poultry.

To enjoy a brief step-by-step demonstration of how to make this recipe, watch the video below!

The following recipe is from The Culinary Institute of America Grilling cookbook (2006, Lebhar-Friedman), available for purchase at bookstores nationwide or online.

Marinated Pepper Salad with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Ingredients

Makes 8 Servings

  • 4 red peppers, cored and quartered
  • 4 yellow peppers, cored and quartered
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Directions

  1. Preheat a gas grill to medium. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the cooking grate.
  2. In a large bowl coat the vegetables with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the peppers until marked on each side and tender throughout but not mushy, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Cut the grilled peppers into 1/4-inch-thick slices and drain on a rack.
  5. Combine the vegetables with the extra-virgin olive oil, raisins, pine nuts, parsley, and garlic. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
 Nutrition analysis per 4-ounce serving: 190 calories, 2g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 14g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 300mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, 3g fiber