For big, easy flavor, try smoking vegetables like tomatoes and scallions. Once you’re done grilling the chicken, add a chunk of hardwood to the dying coals (if the grill is really cool, add a couple extra coals as well).
Position the vegetables opposite the coals, put the lid on, opening the vents above the vegetables to pull the smoke over them, and walk away. By the time the coals have completely died down, the vegetables should be fully cooked and redolent of the smoky wood. (For gas grills, turn all the burners to low and add wood chips to the smoking tray, or bundle up in a foil bindle, punch a few holes in it, and position on top of a burner.)
Chop the tomatoes and scallions and turn them into a salsa or pasta sauce, or simmer down with garlic and a little brown sugar for a light, smoky spin on barbecue sauce. Or add the tomatoes to your favorite gazpacho recipe for a smoky punch.
The scallions can be chopped and added to bean, corn or grain salads or stirred into polenta (add fresh corn while you're at it.) Try pureeing smoked scallions with softened butter, salt and pepper for a do-it-all condiment. Finally, here is my favorite all-purpose dressing that can turn any vegetable into a side dish. It’s perfect for summer:
A bold, spicy sauce from South Africa and butterflied chicken are a great foundation for multiple meals.
For starters, I grill chicken, which works well in multiple dishes and doesn’t take long to cook. I love the bold, chili-spiced rub and vibrant sauce of Piri Piri Chicken and make a double batch, so there are plenty of leftovers. (Triple the recipe for a large household.) The sauce’s tanginess and chili kick ensure that it tastes as good chilled as it does warm. Shred cooled meat from the bones and toss with a bit of the sauce or extra-virgin olive oil to help keep it moist.
Now for some vegetables. Before or after you grill the chicken, pile on an array of vegetables, which can be added to salads and sandwiches through the week. Oil and season scallions, broad slabs of summer squash, zucchini, eggplant and/or fennel. Blacken red or yellow peppers (pull from the fire before the skins grow ashy and cool in a covered bowl to loosen their skins before peeling).
Day Two: Make chicken salad by blending some of the spicy Piri Piri sauce with mayonnaise or Greek yogurt and a squirt of lemon or lime. Add crunchy elements, like thin-sliced radishes, fennel bulb and crunchy croutons or ramp up the smoky flavor with roasted red peppers, toasted pumpkin seeds and a handful of peppery arugula. Roll into lavash wraps with pickles or squish between toasted potato rolls.
Day Three: Top our Armenian Bulgur Pilaf or Herb-and-Pistachio Couscous Salad with the shredded Piri Piri chicken and pair with a few grilled vegetables and a splash of fruity extra-virgin olive oil. Blend leftover Piri Piri hot sauce with mayonnaise and use as a spread for wraps and sandwiches or blend with good canned tuna or coarse-chopped hard-cooked eggs for an impromptu sandwich or wrap. In South Africa, Piri Piri goes on anything and everything.
Day Four: You’ve probably finished off the chicken by now. For a quick meatless meal, turn to canned chickpeas—fried crisp. Drain and dry them, toss with 2 tablespoons cornstarch then fry crisp in ¼ cup olive oil and toss with salt and pepper or your favorite spice mix (try our barbecue blends). Toss over either grain salad or your favorite leafy greens. Or skip dinner altogether and eat the chickpeas straight from the pan with your favorite hot-weather cocktail (try the Yayo, a Spanish gin-and-vermouth spritz).
Pasta Sauce: Turn our Spanish Grilled Vegetables into a pasta sauce to top frilly fusilli or campanelle. Blend with extra olive oil and a splash of pasta cooking water and top each serving with a plump dollop of creamy ricotta or crumbled feta. Add chopped mint if you have it.
Put an Egg on It: Both our Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf and our Herb-and-Pistachio Couscous mellow and improve with age and are tangy enough to taste good chilled. They are also neutral enough to match any protein—even a simple fried egg.
Finally, here is my favorite all-purpose dressing that can turn any vegetable into a side dish. It’s perfect for summer: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ½ cup apple cider vinegar, a ½ cup of honey and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Simmer until large bubbles appear and mixture is reduced to about ½ cup, about 7 minutes. Off heat, add 1 oz of fresh mint, pushing it into the syrup. Let cool to room temperature, then strain into a bowl, pressing the solids. Stir in 2 more tablespoons cider vinegar. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 month.