For Adam Rapoport, firing up the grill is kind of like playing 18 holes.
"You never get it exactly right. The elusive quest for perfection is what keeps us coming back," says the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit. "When you do get that perfect char, it's like hitting a hole in one and thinking you're Phil Mickelson."
To help us up our grilling game, Bon Appétit recently released its manual of outdoor cooking, The Grilling Book ($45). But Rapoport recommends using the book's 350-plus recipes as a loose guide: "You really have to grill by feel."
Rapoport's a meat-and-charcoal man (always charcoal; seriously don't get him started on gas grills). But for our second installment of "Take Back the Grill," he stopped by the TT fire pit to share some advice about vegetarian grilling.
Scallions: Throw them on the grill with everything. "They get charred on the outside, but stay sweet on the inside."
Potatoes: Wrap a handful of peeled, roughly chopped Yukon golds--along with a drizzle of olive oil, smashed garlic, chopped rosemary and ample sea salt--in two sheets of aluminum foil. Grill the packets for about 30 minutes, shaking occasionally. "They're actually better overcooked. No one likes a medium-rare potato."
Bread: Rapoport brushes thick slices of rustic bread with olive oil, grills them until crisp and then rubs them with a raw clove of garlic. "Crostini are an easy starter to make while you're hanging out with friends. Top them with whatever's in season: tomatoes, a little ricotta, sliced avocado."
Asparagus: "I've got no time for skinny asparagus," Rapoport says. For the meatiest flavor, use thick stalks. Just make sure you trim the woody ends.
Littleneck clams: "Unlike oysters that you have to shuck, clams just pop open when they're ready." Drizzle the hot bivalves with butter and herbs, serve with a crusty baguette and you're done.
Kebabs: Sometimes. "If you're gonna make kebabs, use only one type of vegetable per skewer because they cook at different rates."
Portobello mushrooms: Never. "I do not grill Portobello mushrooms," Rapoport says. "What is this, the 1990s?"