Grilled Summer Vegetables with Garlic and Lemon

One of the things I love most about BBQing with friends on a warm summer night is the culmination of a meal.  Everyone has a specialty, whether it’s making a salad, gathering dishes, bringing beer, manning the grill or just keeping the conversation afloat, all the players are of equal importance.  With the communal sense of cooking, it also opens the door for there to be multiple “cooks in the kitchen”, but in a good way.  While at my friend Coburn’s’ house early this summer, he made grilled vegetable kabobs and brushed the finished skewers with fresh lemon and garlic.  Amazing. The perfect finish.  This weekend was another gathering of the culinary minds, where another friend, James, squeezed fresh lime over eggplant before it was grilled.  So with these two wonderful cooks in mind, I bring you this simple recipe.  Make it as skewers if you like, or if your event is a little more spur of the moment, simply throw the veggies directly on the grill (as I describe in the recipe) and enjoy the company of your family and friends.

1 each: red, orange, yellow and green bell pepper
2 onions, sliced 1″ thick and kept as slices
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1″ thick
1 pint crimini mushrooms, cleaned and left whole
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime
3 cloves of garlic
Salt/pepper to taste

Fire up the grill and lightly oil the rack.  For the mushrooms, you’ll want to either skewer or use a piece of foil to cook them on, otherwise you risk loosing them to the grill.  Cut the peppers in large pieces lengthwise, getting about 6-8 slices per pepper; slice onion and keep the pieces in tact, like a slice of bread; slice eggplant, squeeze lime over cut pieces to allow the acids to cook and gently soak into the spongy interior;  Sprinkle all veggies with salt/pepper and place directly on your hot grill.  After about 8 minutes, flip and grill an additional 5 minutes, or until everything has those classic charred grill marks.

Using a garlic press preferably, mince garlic and combine with the juice of one lemon.   After vegetables are grilled, pour lemon-garlic mixture over and serve.