by Michael Vyskocil, photography by Tara Hope Cofiell

What have you been grilling lately? If you’ve limited yourself to the comfort zone of burgers and steaks, it’s time to break the boundaries of your grilling repertoire. Appetizers, main dishes and desserts can be prepared on the grill using ingredients you probably never thought could go with the grates.

A Grilled Romaine and Radicchio Salad pairs grilled greens with a tangy fruit-infused vinaigrette for a sweet and smoky salad. Grilled Shellfish Medley proves you don’t have to be at the beach to enjoy the tastes of clams, mussels and scallops cooked on the grill. These bivalve mollusks have their own built-in timers for cooking; when their shells open, they’re ready to serve. Don’t relegate sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving dinner. Brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh rosemary, sweet potatoes make a fabulous simple vegetable side dish. Grilled Peach Cobbler is the essence of summer cooked in a cast-iron skillet. All that’s needed to accompany this grilled summer dessert is a scoop of your favorite ice cream or sorbet.

Grilled Romaine and Radicchio Salad

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
⅓ cup Fruit-Flavored Vinegar (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons honey
1 large head romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
1 head radicchio, halved lengthwise
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large navel oranges, peeled and cut into sections

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup canola oil, Fruit-Flavored Vinegar, mint and honey. Refrigerate vinaigrette until ready to serve.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Brush romaine and radicchio halves with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill, turning romaine and radicchio, until leaves are charred but still crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Cut each romaine and radicchio half in half lengthwise.
  3. Place the grilled romaine and radicchio halves on a serving plate. Drizzle vinaigrette over grilled romaine and radicchio; arrange the orange sections on top. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Fruit-Flavored Vinegar

1 cup chopped, pitted fresh fruit (such as apricots, berries, peaches or plums)
2 cups distilled white vinegar

  1. Place fruit in a 1-quart nonreactive bowl. Pour the vinegar over the fruit. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
  2. Strain the vinegar into a glass bottle; discard fruit. This flavored vinegar will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 months. Makes about 2 cups.


Grilled Shellfish Medley

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
40 assorted shellfish, such as clams, scallops and mussels, debearded and scrubbed well
1 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 loaf of French of Italian bread, sliced

  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill until coals begin to turn white-hot, about 30 to 40 minutes. Place baking pan on grill; add butter, lime juice, white wine, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. As the butter is melting, arrange shellfish in a single layer on the grill. Cook until shells pop open, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer cooked shellfish to serving platter. Pour butter sauce over shellfish. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with bread slices. Makes 6 servings.


Grilled Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

  1. Combine sweet potatoes, olive oil and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl. Toss potatoes several times to coat all the slices with oil and rosemary.
  2. Prepare charcoal or gas grill, arranging the coals on the charcoal grill for indirect cooking; heat the gas grill to medium-low.
  3. Grill the potato slices, using a grilling basket, if necessary, for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the potato slices are tender and lightly browned. Turn the slices, as needed, during grilling to prevent overbrowning. Makes 6 servings.


Grilled Peach Cobbler

Use only fresh, ripe peaches for this recipe. Frozen and thawed peaches and peaches packed in syrup in cans may exude too much liquid for this cobbler variation.

8 fresh, ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
⅔ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Ice cream or sorbet, for serving

In a large cast-iron skillet set over a medium-hot grill, combine peaches, orange juice, ⅓ cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Cook until the peaches soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

  1. Meanwhile, combine ⅓ cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract and stir until the mixture comes together in the bowl.
  2. Drop cobbler mixture in rough balls over peaches. Cover skillet tightly with parchment-lined aluminum foil. Cook until cobbler biscuits are set and tops are dry, about 15 to 20 minutes. Divide cobbler among serving plates and serve with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet. Makes 6 servings.