Don't Forget Veggies When You Fire Up the Grill

    Vegetables are notoriously difficult to match with wine. But when you grill the veggies, the challenge becomes much less daunting.

     Perhaps that is why vegetables have moved up to No. 7 on the list of the most popular grilled foods. (You can scroll down to see the full list.)

     Grilling not only intensifies the natural flavors of a given vegetable, but it provides the opportunity to make them more interesting through basting, seasoning or other treatments.

     Take zucchini, as an example. Grilling improves its flavor tremendously. Some like to place zucchini pieces on a skewer with lemon wedges, and then squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the zucchini once they’re cooked. Wines that have lemon or citrus in their flavor profiles — such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Grigio — make very good pairing partners.

     Want to make corn on the cob more interesting? After grilling, brush it with a mixture of olive oil, salt and chopped fresh herbs, then pour a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot or any other wine variety — color doesn’t matter — that exudes an herbal edge.

     We know that mushrooms aren’t vegetables — although if you try telling that to a pizza maker, you’ll likely receive a quizzical look in reply — but they also cook up nicely on a grill (3 to 4 minutes per side over medium heat will do the trick). Their meaty quality makes them a natural pairing partner for meaty wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

     Regardless of what you’re grilling — be it vegetables or meat — keep in mind that it’s a hot job usually performed in hot weather. So one goal is to pick wines that won’t weigh you down but will keep you refreshed, such as roses and sparkling wines.

     But you also need wines that will stand up to the tangy and spicy flavors associated with barbecued fare. Dependable choices include Zinfandel, Syrah, Malbec and Spanish reds.

THE TOP 7 GRILLED FOODS

1. Hamburgers

2. Steak

3. Chicken

4. Hot Dogs

5. Pork Chops

6. Potatoes

7. Vegetables

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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