Needing sides to go with a main dish? Here are a few perfect ideas that are very easy to execute. I always feel that more attention needs to be paid to the “main” dish but then I panic as to what to put with it, and you can’t devote so much time and effort to the sides. So here are a few of my “go to” ideas–quick, easy and yummy.
Corn on the Cob (Summer Style for the grill–sorry apartment dwellers with no grills)
This is so easy, because the corn is in season and you can shuck it in the supermarket. There is usually a large garbage can in the produce section for exactly this purpose. If not , you can buy it partially shucked, in the package. It is a mess in the kitchen, so I always try to do it in supermarket.
I take a large bowl, put corn in the bowl (with cobs,) drizzle all the ears with a little olive oil and coat very lightly , and with clean washed hands (please) roll them around. Don’t overdo the olive oil; it’s really just to give it a light coat. Sprinkle a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (also very lightly) and then put the corn in a large baggie. You can leave these ’til you’re ready to cook, for as long as you’d like, nothing will happen.
When you’re ready, heat the grill (I usually start at a high temp, and then lower it to medium.) Put corn right on grill. All grills are a little different, so watch it carefully the first time and after a few minutes, roll it with tongs until the corn turns a golden yellow, with some brown/black spots and that’s what you want all over. I would say about 10-15 minutes; again depending on your grill. The corn will actually start popping on the grill. Don’t overdo it, you’ll know it’s ready when it’s golden on all sides. Be careful with it.
Put on platter and you can cover with tin foil to keep warm, or just let it be at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350.
This is another summer staple, and so yummy. Buy 2 asparagus bundles. Wash and snap off bottoms, or cut. I usually just line them up and cut the bottoms off, probably about 2 inches. If they’re thin, they need no trimming. If they’re rather thick, you can take a peeler to them, and just trim off sharp points. I prefer the skinny ones.
Take out a Pyrex, lay asparagus down in Pyrex. Drizzle some olive oil, and again with clean washed hands roll asparagus around to make sure they are covered with olive oil. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pop them into oven for about 20 minutes, at which time, they should be cooked. Take them out and cover with aluminum foil and let them be until you’re ready to serve. This is served at room temp. and perfect. Also delish cold the next day in a salad.
Potatoes (sweet and regular white potatoes):
I do these potatoes all year round, even when I grill b/c they cook in the oven, and I don’t have enough room for everything on the grill anyway. I buy small multi-colored potatoes in the produce section, usually available in a little net baggie. I love the purple, red, and yellow. I also love the fingerlings. Any of them will work. I’m not fond of the big fat Idaho Potatoes though. Also, sweet potatoes are amazing this way. Yukon Golds are delish too!
I cut up potatoes all the same small size. Take one small potato, cut in 1/2 and then in 1/2 again. The large sweet potatoes, cut in 1/2, and again and again, ’til you have smaller pieces (not too small; just forkful pieces,). Remember they should all be around the same size to ensure they all cook at the same speed.
I put into a sprayed (Pam) Pyrex, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix up with clean washed hands, and pop in 400 degree preheated oven for app. 45 minutes. About 1/2 way through just remove from oven and toss around with metal spatula or spoon. I like them crispy so maybe an hour. They’re sort of hard to kill but don’t overcook that much. Usually an hour is maximum.
Serve with ketchup or plain.
Baked curry sweet potato fries (Serves approx. four; approx. one potato per customer):
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt to taste
3 or 4 large sweet potatoes , yams, orange flesh, peeled
Peel sweet potatoes and slice off the top (I use a peeler to peel potatoes). Lay potato down and with a large knife, cut in 1/2 and then cut each halve into quarters. (8 pieces should be good from 1 Potato)
Add olive oil and toss. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk one egg while until foamy and frothy. Add curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes, and mix all together. Pour the egg white mixture over the potato sticks and gently toss to coat. I do it all in this bowl.
Spread out potatoes on parchment paper baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes. Check on them after 40 minutes for how crispy you like them.
Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers: On the Grill
This is the easiest by far. Take whole sweet red, yellow, and orange peppers. I never use green (don’t love the flavor.) Cut off tops, clean out seeds , wash off peppers . Cut in half, no smaller because they will fall in grill.
Take pepper halves and put in plastic baggie, with some olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; coat peppers and leave for a bit to absorb. Do not go crazy with olive oil–just drizzle to coat. You want to taste pepper not oil.
Get grill hot, and place pepper halves directly on hot grill. Let cook until they actually char without really killing them (about 5- 6 minutes on each side.) These are so delicious, and go great with steak, chicken and fish. They can be served at room temp. as well! And they’re awesome the next day cold from fridge.