Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
A teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 portobello mushroom caps, about 1 pound
A cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
A cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
A cup grape cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1. Whisk the balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Brush the mixture over the entire surface of the mushrooms and allow them to sit at room temperature 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the grill for direct heat cooking.
3. Place the mushrooms, gill side down, on the grill and cook 4 minutes, until they readily release from the rack surface. Turn and cook another 4 minutes, until they are tender but not soft. Top with the shredded cheese and cook until the cheese is nearly melted, about 1 minute.
4. Remove from the grill, top with the shredded basil and tomatoes and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 174 calories, 7 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 254 mg sodium
GRILLED EGGPLANT DIP (BABA GANOUSH)
2 medium eggplants, about 3 pounds
A cup tahini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
A teaspoon sea salt
1. Heat the grill for direct heat cooking.
2. Prick the eggplants in several places on all sides with a fork. Place them directly on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until they are soft and wrinkled, about 25-30 minutes.
3. When cool enough to handle, cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and scoop out the flesh; discard the skin. Place the flesh in a colander or strainer and drain 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Transfer to a food processor and add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and process until smooth. (If preferred, the dip may be thinned with a little cold water). Keeps well for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Makes 6 servings
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 128 calories, 4 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 358 mg sodium
GRILLED ROMAINE AND RED ONION SALAD
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A teaspoon salt
3 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
1 red onion, cut across in A-inch thick slices
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
1. Coat the grill rack with oil; heat the grill.
2. Make the dressing: Whisk the oil, lemon juice and salt together. Brush about half the dressing on the romaine and red onion slices.
3. Place the romaine hearts (cut-side down) and onion slices on the grill. Cook 2 minutes; turn the romaine and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer the romaine to a platter, and turn the onion. Cook another 3-4 minutes, or until tender.
4. Cut the romaine across in strips; cut the onion rings in half and toss together. Toss with the remaining dressing and Parmesan and serve. Makes 4 servings
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 117 calories, 4 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 270 mg sodium
TIP: When grilling sliced onion, insert a toothpick horizontally through the rings to hold them together. Leave only one end exposed, and wrap it in a small piece of foil to prevent it from burning off.