Vegetable skewers for the outdoor grill

Vegetables cut into slices or chunks make good candidates for outdoor grilling. They cook quickly, but because they are exposed to direct heat, the pieces must be well coated with oil to remain moist. Seasonings and herbs can be added to the oil for extra flavor.

Choose vegetables with a firm skin, such as eggplants; summer squashes; sweet peppers; and underripe, or green, tomatoes.

For skewering, parboil the slices for a minute or two to guarantee uniform cooking

When assembling a kebab, or brochette, begin and end the skewer with a sweet red pepper that will be an anchor for juicier vegetables, such as zucchini.

Otherwise, arrange the vegetables in any sequence you like. Grilled Vegetables on Skewers 2 medium zucchini, in 1/2-inch rounds 2 medium yellow squash, in 1/2-inch rounds 1 large eggplant 3 red peppers 1/2 cup olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb, such as basil, marjoram, or tarragon

Slice eggplant into thirds lengthwise; turn it 90 degrees and slice into thirds again. Quarter the strips crosswise.

Stem, seed, and de-rib red peppers and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Parboil vegetables 2 minutes, then drain in colander. In large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, pepper, and a chopped fresh herb of your choice.

Add vegetables and use 2 spoons to toss gently. Leave to marinate about 30 minutes.

Thread vegetables on 4 skewers, beginning and ending with red pepper and adding others alternately.

Grill 5 minutes on an oiled rack 4 to 6 inches away from coals, turning frequently, until tender and evenly browned. Serves 4.

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