Now that we are past Memorial Day weekend, it is the official start of summer and the perfect time to break out the grill and start your outdoor cooking and dining season. You probably have your meat game honed, but what about the sides? Here are three brilliant grilled accompaniments for this time of the season that will complement any grilled ribs, steaks, chicken, fish, etc. All available at the Market!

Grilled Asparagus

recipe by Lindsay Funston at Delish

For perfect grilled asparagus every time:

  1. Let your grill preheat. You want it HOT, so that you hear a sizzle as soon as the asparagus hits the grate. This is where that char comes into play. A hot grill will ensure that your asparagus develops flavor while cooking to the proper tenderness. A grill that is not quite hot enough will result in more shriveled, dehydrated stalks.
  2. Cut off the woody ends. Trim the bottom inch or so off of each spear. It’s the part that tends to be super tough and very hard to chew and swallow.
  3. Season your asparagus generously. Not enough salt = bland. To avoid undesirable burning on the hot grates, save other flavors for sprinkling on after the asparagus come off the grill.
  4. Be patient. If the stalks you’re grilling are on the bigger side, they will take longer to cook. The asparagus is ready when you can easily pierce the middle with a fork and the stalk bends over when picked up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. asparagus, stalks trimmed
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill. Toss asparagus lightly in oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Note: I prefer to break off the woody ends of my asparagus stalks where they naturally want to break to insure tender spears. Jacque Pepin cuts off about an inch of stalk and then uses a vegetable peeler to allow the exposed interior of the stalk to cook to tenderness.

Grilled Balsamic Mushrooms

recipe by Lindsay Funston at Delish

Here are some tips to consider before getting started:

  1. Don’t wash your mushrooms. Mushrooms are like sponges—they’ll soak up a ton of moisture, which can lead to sogginess and mushy mushrooms. Instead, wipe excess dirt away with a damp paper towel and you’re all set!
  2. When you’re grilling kebabs, it’s safest to presoak wooden skewers for 20 to 30 minutes before throwing them over the grates. This will prevent them from burning and charring straight away when they meet heat, leading to weakened, brittle skewers that are easy to break under pressure.
  3. Don’t have balsamic vinegar? Don’t sweat it. Try sherry vinegar instead. (It’s just not as sweet!) Have some fresh thyme or rosemary? Chop up the leaves and throw in a couple of small pinches. Like things spicy? A sprinkle of crushed red peppers or ground cayenne or your favorite hot sauce right after they come off the grill will be an excellent twist.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced 1/2″ thick if large, quartered, or whole small ones
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper. Add mushrooms and marinate 20 minutes. Presoak wooden skewers in water while mushrooms marinate.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high. Skewer mushrooms and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  3. Garnish with parsley before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Note: You can use any type of mushrooms — even wild foraged types, as long as you cut them into pieces big and thick enough to slide onto a skewer and not fall apart. Be especially careful not to overcook the really delicate ones and denser sturdier mushrooms can handle a little extra time on the grill.

Grilled Strawberries

recipe by Lena Abraham at Delish

Don’t forget to soak your skewers in water before using them! No one likes a burnt skewer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • Wooden skewers
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Lemon wedges

Directions:

  1. Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Thread strawberries onto skewers from stem to tip. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, honey, lemon zest, and kosher salt. Brush onto skewers.
  2. Heat grill or grill pan to medium and grill strawberries on each side until slightly charred. Brush with butter mixture as they cook.
  3. Remove from heat, squeeze with lemon and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Note: Serve these beauties on shortcake, ice cream, pound cake, bruschetta, in salads, or with cheese. The possibilities are endless!

More grillin’ & chillin’ from our archives.

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