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While you're at it, grill up some side dishes

While you're at it, grill up some side dishes

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If the grill is already going, you might as well make the most of it and prepare the side dishes on it, too.

Plenty of vegetables take well to the grill, such as corn on the cob (briefly soak it in a bit of lightly salted water first), mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant and summer squash.

So take advantage of the wealth of fresh produce available now. Add a bit of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper, cook the vegetables lightly and voila, an easy side dish.

Or if you care to get a bit fancier, here are recipes for proscuitto-wrapped asparagus and cheese-stuffed mushroom caps.

Grilled Asparagus

Wrapped in Proscuitto

Recipe from Andrew Schloss and David Joachim's Mastering the Grill, Chronicle Books, 2007, $24.95. Start to finish: 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

2 1/2 pounds thin asparagus (40 to 45 spears), trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Oil for coating grill grate

4 ounces sliced prosciutto (about 8 paper-thin slices)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat the grill to medium with the grate at the lowest setting.

On a rimmed baking sheet or in a large plastic bag, toss the asparagus with the olive oil.

Lightly coat the grill grate with oil. Arrange the asparagus on the grill perpendicular to the bars of the grate. Grill until just tender but not limp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Use tongs to roll the asparagus once or twice during cooking.

Lay a slice of prosciutto horizontally on a work surface. Place 4 to 6 asparagus spears over the prosciutto near a short edge. Sprinkle the asparagus with some pepper. Tightly roll the prosciutto over the asparagus on a slight diagonal, creating a tight bundle. The tips of the asparagus should still be showing.

Sprinkle the bundles with Parmesan.


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