7 Ways to Fire Up Summer Vegetables

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AskEllie_KS_FN_341.jpg

Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop Stylist: Pam Morris

Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.

Six ears of grilled corn with pieces of lime on a white and blue dish

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

A swirl of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and rings of red bell pepper and red onion --  combined with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh basil -- turn this dish into a colorful, barbecue-perfect side salad.

There's little more that corn on the cob needs than an old-school butter rubdown. But when it does get an upgrade, say, in the form of being rolled in lime, garlic, jalapeno and sweet paprika, that fiery finish is worth the extra prep time.

Slather salt-dusted rounds of eggplant with olive oil and garlic. Once they are browned and sizzling, give them the Mediterranean treatment with a drizzle of mint yogurt sauce shot through with cumin and cayenne pepper.

Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint

Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint

Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint

Photo by: Matt Armedariz ©2012 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armedariz, 2012 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Earthy portobello mushrooms, thick and meaty, are first modestly seared on the grill with olive oil. A balsamic dressing enlivened by fresh, oven-roasted garlic adds a homey and aromatic touch.

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ALEX_G_GRILLED_PORTOBELLO_MUSHROOM_BALSAMIC_H.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Keep hungry guests sated -- but not so overstuffed they won't have room for the impending barbecue -- with these delicate zucchini roll-ups. They're filled with an airy mash of goat cheese, fresh parsley and lemon juice, cushioned underneath baby spinach and basil leaves.

grilled-zucchini-rolls-with-herbs-and-cheese-recipe

grilled-zucchini-rolls-with-herbs-and-cheese-recipe

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Platters of just-grilled chicken kebabs and bowls of vinegary potato salad make the ideal companions to this mess of vegetables -- carrots, celery root, red onions, summer squash -- brushed with a simple garlic- and honey-spiked balsamic glaze.

In this rendition of caponata -- the classic Italian antipasto that frequently makes cameos at the Sicilian dinner table -- a mélange of eggplant, tomatoes and red onion is plumped up with kalamata olives, capers, golden raisins and pine nuts, all woven together with a garlicky honey dressing.

Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.

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