We’ve reached that point in the summer when I start dreaming about all things fall. From the cooler temperatures, to autumn produce, I am absolutely ready for the new season to arrive. However, living in central North Carolina, the weather doesn’t tend to cooperate until at least the end of September. My solution? Turning to dishes that are light and fresh, yet also a touch cozy.
Like today’s recipe. Polenta, one of my favorite comfort foods, is grilled on skewers along with plenty of fresh veggies and halloumi cheese. The kabobs get nicely charred and tender, and are served with a lemon basil yogurt sauce on the side for dipping. It’s a perfect meal for that transition between summer and fall.
One of the main things to remember when making kabobs is to cut all the components to approximately the same size to ensure even cooking. Use your judgment as you prep all the veggies in particular. For example, if your mushrooms are really small, you may consider just leaving them whole. You also want to be gentle when threading the halloumi onto the skewers - it will break into pieces if you use too much force.
Over the next several months as the weather starts to cool down, I tend to use my indoor grill pan or griddle instead of heading outside. Here are some general tips to keep in mind for indoor grilling as summer begins to wind to a close:
1. Allow your grill pan or griddle to get nice and hot before placing anything on the surface.
2. Once you add your kabobs (or other items) to the hot pan, only turn or flip them every few minutes. This helps allow nice char marks to develop. You don’t want to constantly turn kabobs or flip veggies in the pan.
3. Know your stove. In my kitchen, I start with the pan on medium high heat, but need to turn it down to about medium as items cook. If anything starts to char too fast, turn down the heat.
4. Ventilation is important. I need to keep my cooktop fan on high when grilling, but it will depend on your specific kitchen setup.
For the skewers:
- 1 about 18-ounce tube prepared polenta
- 1 7- to 8-ounce package halloumi cheese
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- 1 8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms
- Olive oil for brushing
- Salt and pepper for sprinkling
For the sauce:
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
For the skewers:
- Cut the polenta into roughly 1-inch chunks. Cut the halloumi into about ¾-inch chunks. Slice the onion and peppers into roughly ¾- to 1-inch pieces. Slice the mushrooms in half. Alternating between the polenta, cheese and veggies, thread all the components onto skewers until full. Brush the skewers all over with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a griddle or indoor grill pan over medium/medium-high heat. Mist generously with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place the kabobs on the heated pan and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating every few minutes, until the veggies are crisp tender and charred.
For the sauce:
- In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. Serve with the kabobs on the side for dipping.