So now that you’ve got your own style of magnificent marinade perfected, we bring you some inspiration for how to use it: in the spirit of creative barbecue, here’s a handful of tasty tidbits you never knew you could grill!
1) Cheese. Add a smokey flavour to thick slices of goat’s or sheep’s cheeses, wheels of brie, cuts of edam or Swiss, or even larger pearls of buffalo mozzarella. A few minutes on medium-high heat settles the cheese into a blissfully soft, warm and chewy texture without melting it over the grill.
2) Olives. Your favourite Mediterranean staple becomes even more complex and rich in flavour after only minutes over charcoal flame. Thread any combination of briney olives onto skewers and grill over medium-high heat, then add to pizza, pasta, salads, antipasto, appetizer platters, or even martinis.
3) Bread. Toast just got better: slice a crusty baguette or sourdough loaf and drizzle with butter or olive oil, or cut flatbreads such as naan or pita into wedges, and grill until golden. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even bake fresh dough right on the grates for a more complexly-flavoured bread.
4) Nuts. Either plain or coated with spice rub, nuts like almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts intensify in flavour when toasted over flame. Season as desired and place on a sheet of tin foil; grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until nuts are crisp and fragrant.
5) Avocado. The smoky notes that grilling imparts on the rich and creamy flesh of ripe green avocados are the ideal complement to burgers and paninis. Brush pitted halves with olive oil and grill over medium heat, then slice or blend into guacamole (or eat right out of the peel with a spoon!)
6) Herbs and Greens. Grilled salad? Barbecued pesto? Why not? Grill lightly-oiled halves of romaine or head lettuce, cabbage, or endive over medium-high heat until edges are slightly charred and wrinkly, then tear or slice and dress for coleslaw or a delicately smoky Caesar salad. Brush oil over leaves of kale and toast until crispy for crunchy green chips. Grill hearty herbs like rosemary or thyme right on the grates, or place softer leaves of basil on a sheet of tin foil, and heat for a few moments over medium-high heat; add to sauces, burgers, spreads, or baked goods.
7) Grapes. Like the sun dries them into sweet, chewy raisins, the grill wrinkles ripe grapes into warm globes of concentrated, juicy sweetness, tempered by a slight pepper-like char. Place washed bunches of red seedless grapes on clean grate and heat for about ten minutes, or until swollen and popping. Add to salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, serve with cheese and bread or crackers, or serve over vanilla ice cream.
8) Garlic. Roasted garlic is a delectable classic, used to enrich sauces, bruschetta, soups, breads, and butters. Real garlic lovers even enjoy the lusciously creamy textured, nutty flavoured cloves as is, right out of the oven. Skewer peeled and oiled cloves and roast on the grill, or wrap the entire head of garlic in tin foil and let the package bake slowly until cloves yield a brown, caramel-soft centre.
9) Artichokes. Another Mediterranean favourite, artichokes gain further richness from a few minutes over open flame. Cut fresh or canned hearts in half and brush with olive oil (canned varieties might already have enough oil), then skewer and place cut side down on the grate. Grill on medium heat until browned; add to pizza, pasta, salads, or serve with Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, tzatziki, or any of your other favourite dips.
10) Cake. Brownies, Bundt, pound, or angel food cake all gain a deeper sweetness when their soft and fluffy edges meet the grill. Lightly brush surfaces with melted butter and toast on a clean grate over medium heat until crispy; serve immediately with fruit, yogurt, ice cream, or melted chocolate.