Years ago, a local artist and daughter of a famous (deceased) artist opened a cafe some ten minutes from our house. The interior was designed to display the famous mother’s paintings so the ambience was artsy all the way. The Mexican menu, conceptualized and actualized by a female chef, was beautiful.
I mention this to explain how I discovered the wonders of grilling vegetables. Up until the night we had dinner at that cafe, the only vegetable I knew how to grill was corn. But there was a salsa served that night that just took my breath away. I could taste and smell the grill on the tomatoes and mangoes.
When the chef came out of the kitchen to check how we were enjoying our meal, I had to ask if the salsa ingredients had been grilled. Yes, she replied, but only for a short time. Just long enough to coax out the flavors.
I never forgot that salsa. And I took to heart the chef’s reason for grilling the vegetables and fruit that went in it.
Grilled skewered shiitake and bell peppers
- bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent them from catching fire on the grill)
- 10 shiitake mushrooms
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 to 2 bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cut the shiitake caps into halves.
- Quarter the tomatoes.
- Dice the bell peppers.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers. Toss well.
- Thread the mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers alternately on the bamboo skewers.
- Grill over hot charcoal for about one minute per side.
- Serve immediately.