Why José Andrés Recommends Grilling Vegetables With The Skin On

When you're looking to finesse your cooking techniques, one of the best ways is to look to the world's best chefs. There's no doubt that José Andrés is among them. His years of experience in the kitchen have led to one key tip for grilling vegetables — keep the skin on.

Andrés told Food & Wine his use of the technique traces back to his roots in Spain's Catalonia region. There, eggplants are grilled whole, which allows the tougher skin to protect the delicate flesh inside. It also keeps the eggplant's interior from drying out over the heat before it can properly soften. Whole eggplants are generally grilled over medium-low heat for between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on their size.

He's also a fan of grilling corn on the cob, a veggie that comes individually wrapped in protective skin for the grill. The husk helps protect the corn kernels while they gently cook via steaming and soak up the smoky flavor of the grill. Corn is also easier to shuck and clean when cooked compared to when raw.

An easy and widely-used trick

José Andrés recommends the same treatment for onions, noting that patient cooks can fully char the outer layers while the inside turns soft and delicious. This burned exterior can be easily discarded before serving. The same goes for peppers, where skins are often deliberately charred on the grill. The skins are then removed by steaming in an enclosed container before eating. 

Andrés has even been known to grill potatoes, though these require an extra "skin" of foil beyond their natural one. Once wrapped, these can be nestled directly atop the coals. While keeping the skin on is a very helpful hack, it's certainly not the only thing to remember when making these delicious, healthy additions to your cookout. Make sure to avoid common mistakes people make when grilling vegetables, like failing to wash and dry them properly, under seasoning, or chopping them too small or too far in advance of grilling.