I probably could eat food off the grill every day, summer or winter. There is true magic when you combine olive oil, salt, pepper and grill fire; chicken becomes transcendent, eggplant tastes like a childhood memory, corn becomes its best self.
Your grill can also kick start other types of recipes, adding flair to simple sauces, hummus (years ago I published a recipe for grilled zucchini hummus in this newspaper), and more.
This month's recipe is a result of my receiving a large bunch of scallions in my weekly CSA through most of June and July. Grilling scallions adds depth to their light, oniony flavor, and running the grilled scallions in a food processor with sesame oil, lemon and some other ingredients makes a bright, interesting topping for grilled veggies and meat.
This recipe can also top more traditional foods, like a roast chicken (I rubbed a chicken in miso paste and butter, then roasted it in the oven, and the flavors were a perfect match), or a grain bowl with vegetables and quick-pickled carrots or onions, or a salad, or swirled into pasta, etc.
You can get a nice bunch of scallions anywhere, but if you can, head to your farmers market (wear a mask) or check out the markets doing online delivery (I have been getting deliveries from Roots Rising in Pittsfield). This is the time to eat local even if you aren't really interested in local food systems. It's the very start of the abundant season, and things are plentiful and affordable. This is what summer eating is all about — seize the day!
GRILLED SCALLION TOPPING
1 large bunch scallions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
A few cracks of pepper
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons water
Toss scallions with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt, then grill on medium 3 to 5 minutes (you can also place on the top rack of your grill as you make other stuff for about 10 minutes).
Remove from heat and let cool. Chop scallions into two or three segments, then add to food processor with sesame oil, olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, and lemon, then run until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut with water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce is your desired consistency. Drizzle on vegetables, salads, grilled meat, meatballs, pasta, etc.