Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.
Grilled Ratatouille Salad (above, from Food Network Magazine)
A swirl of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and rings of red bell pepper and red onion — combined with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh basil — turn this dish into a colorful, barbecue-perfect side salad.
Jalapeno-Lime Corn on the Cob
There’s little more that corn on the cob needs than an old-school butter rubdown. But when it does get an upgrade, say, in the form of being rolled in lime, garlic, jalapeno and sweet paprika, that fiery finish is worth the extra prep time.
Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint
Slather salt-dusted rounds of eggplant with olive oil and garlic. Once they are browned and sizzling, give them the Mediterranean treatment with a drizzle of mint yogurt sauce shot through with cumin and cayenne pepper.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Balsamic
Earthy portobello mushrooms, thick and meaty, are first modestly seared on the grill with olive oil. A balsamic dressing enlivened by fresh, oven-roasted garlic adds a homey and aromatic touch.
Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese
Keep hungry guests sated — but not so overstuffed they won’t have room for the impending barbecue — with these delicate zucchini roll-ups. They’re filled with an airy mash of goat cheese, fresh parsley and lemon juice, cushioned underneath baby spinach and basil leaves.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
Platters of just-grilled chicken kebabs and bowls of vinegary potato salad make the ideal companions to this mess of vegetables — carrots, celery root, red onions, summer squash — brushed with a simple garlic- and honey-spiked balsamic glaze.
In this rendition of caponata — the classic Italian antipasto that frequently makes cameos at the Sicilian dinner table — a mélange of eggplant, tomatoes and red onion is plumped up with kalamata olives, capers, golden raisins and pine nuts, all woven together with a garlicky honey dressing.
Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.