“Grilling is the best way to prepare food because it highlights the simplicity and versatility of the product,” notes Casey Burchfield, Chef de Cuisine, Linger Longer Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Georgia. “The food picks up hints of beautiful smoke flavor from the char as well as the wood used. It imparts a glorious texture due to the intense heat creating a nice char, aroma, and visual effect.” One of his favorite picks? Gem lettuce. To make, cut the gem lettuce in half lengthwise, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Next, lay the gems cut side down on the hottest part of the grill until they get some beautiful char—it should only take about 20 seconds—then quickly take them off and cool them down in the refrigerator. Just be sure to avoid these 16 grilling mistakes for the best results.
Blanch the potatoes first, advises Burchfield, because “they would burn on the grill before they are cooked if you didn’t.” He recommends steaming them in heavily salted water with some herbs and garlic tossed in. “Grilling adds a nice smokiness to the potato,” he says. Want more grilling ideas that won’t bust your diet? Start with these 15 grilling recipes under 400 calories.