Potatoes aren’t the first vegetable most of us think about grilling, but actually they’re well suited to it, since they readily absorb smoky flavor and easily acquire crisp grill marks. But there’s a trick. To make sure the interior cooks through without burning the exterior, I par-cook spuds in the microwave before putting them on the grill. Boiling is the usual method here, but when it’s hot out, who wants to turn on the stove and boil water? And I use small, waxy creamer potatoes (also called new; they can be red- or white-skinned), skewered for easy turning.
GRILLED POTATO KEBABS WITH ONION AND BACON
2 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 large onion, halved, with each half cut into 6 chunks
8 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Neutral oil, for the grill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, scallion greens, or chives
Lemon wedges, for serving, optional
In a bowl, microwave the potatoes on high until just tender, about 5 minutes, tossing gently to redistribute halfway through cooking time. When cool enough to handle, thread skewers with a mix of potato halves (skewer parallel to the cut sides, with all the cut sides facing the same way), onion chunks, and bacon pieces folded double, starting and ending with potato. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to medium-high and grill with lid closed.) Clean and oil grill grate, and grill skewers until the potatoes and onions are tender and lightly charred, about 10 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times. Remove kebabs to a platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once with lemon wedges, if desired.
> GRILLED SPICED POTATOES
Simply seasoned sour cream or yogurt makes a nice dip for these potatoes. Follow the recipe for Grilled Potato Kebabs With Onion and Bacon, making the following changes:
1) Omit the onion, bacon, parsley, and lemon wedges.
2) In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon each crushed dried thyme, paprika, ground coriander, onion powder, and pepper, ½ teaspoon each ground cumin and kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice.
3) After brushing skewered potatoes with oil, sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture (especially cut sides) and proceed with grilling.
GRILLED POTATO AND SQUID SALAD
Makes about 6 cups
If you wish, marinate the squid in a mixture of 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon each finely grated lemon zest and juice, and 1 teaspoon each crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, covered and in the fridge, for at least 3 hours.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or grated
4 oil-packed anchovies, minced (1 tablespoon)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 pounds cleaned squid, tentacles separated and bodies left intact
Neutral oil, for the grill
1 large celery rib, finely chopped
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion, white and green parts
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
In a large nonreactive bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in ‚ cup olive oil. Reserve half the dressing and set aside.
In a bowl, microwave the potatoes on high until just tender, about 5 minutes, tossing gently to redistribute halfway through cooking time. When cool enough to handle, thread skewers with the potato halves (skewer parallel to the cut sides, with all the cut sides facing the same way) and set aside. Thread squid tentacles (and bodies, if desired) onto skewers (don’t pack too tightly — use 3 or 4 skewers for just the tentacles). Brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Meanwhile, prepare a very hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to high and grill with lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate. Grill the squid tentacles and bodies — setting a heavy weight such as a cast-iron pan or foil-wrapped brick on the bodies — over the hottest part of the grill, until just cooked through and lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes for the bodies and about 5 minutes for the tentacles, flipping them halfway through (do not overcook or the squid will be rubbery). When cool enough to handle, cut the squid bodies into ¼-inch-thick rings and halve the tentacles lengthwise, if necessary, and set aside.
When the fire dies down to medium-hot (if using gas, adjust burners to medium-high and grill with lid closed), grill the potato skewers until the potatoes are tender and lightly charred, about 10 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times through grilling time. Whisk the dressing in the large bowl to reblend; immediately remove the potatoes from the skewers, add them to the bowl, toss to coat with dressing, and set aside to cool to room temperature (the potatoes will absorb much of the dressing).
Add the squid, celery, and olives to the potatoes. Whisk reserved dressing to reblend and toss with squid mixture, then cover and rest for about 20 minutes for flavors to develop. Toss in scallion and parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve.
Adam Ried appears regularly on America’s Test Kitchen. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.