I love grilling, but by this time of summer, I’ve eaten about as many steaks, brats, and grilled portabella mushrooms as I can stand. So I’m always looking for something different to mix it up a little.
My favorite experiments this summer: Fruit.
You’ve probably tasted grilled fruit before; pineapple and chicken is a classic kebab combination. But you can also use grilled fruits in salsas, main dishes and more elaborate desserts. And many kinds of fruit are even more delicious grilled. The heat of the grill caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugar, intensifying the sweetness and bringing out a deeper, fuller flavor.
Just about anything can go on the grill, but some things take to it better than others. Bananas and pineapple, for instance, are among the best to start with, because the caramelization is perfect with those flavor profiles, and the larger pieces are easier to handle. More fragile fruits, like mangos, peaches, and apricots, also taste great, but you need to be extra careful with them because they are easy to overcook into mush.
Grilling method: You can either string fruit onto bamboo skewers for kebabs, or simply slice fruit into pieces no more than about one inch thick, and place directly on grill. (Again, cored, sliced pineapples, or bananas sliced lengthwise, are a great way to start. Or just halve a peach or mango, removing the center pit.) Grill over low to medium heat; most fruits cook in just a few minutes. The outer edges of the grill, away from the most intense heat, are the best grill positions.
Packet method: This produces a softer, less-caramelized fruit, more as if you’d baked it in the oven. Prepare fruit, then wrap loosely in aluminum foil. (If you want to add sugar or sauce, the packet is a less-messy way to go about it.)Then, place fruit packet over indirect heat, close grill, and cook for five to 10 minutes. (You can produce indirect heat by moving coals to one side of grill, or by turning on only one burner of a gas grill.)
GRILLING WORKSHOP ALERT: Need more grilling ideas? Our own Market Manager, Herb Turner, will be in the FRESH Taste Kitchen, tomorrow, Saturday, July 30th, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. He’ll be sharing his own fool-proof techniques for grilling perfect meals.