Grilling: It’s everyone’s favorite poolside activity (aside from perhaps being served already grilled items while reclining in a comfortable lounge chair with plenty of refreshments in hand).
When you’re in the South though (or the Midwest, so I hear, or the Northeast, or fill in any area of the US circa June/July of 2012 except maybe Seattle), hot, heavy grilled meats and dense, marinated veggies can end up making you feel overheated and sluggish. Enter the new, unexpected trend of grilling fruit.
While it might seem counterintuitive, since fruit is normally served chilled and raw, grilling actually brings out the sweet, juicy flavor of many fruits, also adding a complexity with the slight smokiness you normally associate with grilled foods. I’ve tried grilling several times this summer (with varied results–anyone else get distracted sometimes and end up with a couple pieces of charcoal?), and I have yet to be disappointed with any of the fruit experiments I’ve performed.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Grilled Peaches. This one is easy. Simply halve the peaches, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil if you’d like, and place face down on the grill for 4-5 minutes. You want them to look slightly charred and soft. For an added treat, try adding a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Chèvre Log with Honey and a pinch of cinnamon or brown sugar.
- Grilled Bananas. If you think about it, bananas were basically made to be grilled. Heating these fruits turns them into a sweet, gooey treat, and besides, they have a built-in grilling package in the form of a peel. The easiest way I’ve found to grill these delicious treats is to halve the fruits, but keep the peel on; then place the bananas face down on the grill for about 3 minutes. Then turn them over, drizzle them with honey and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and return them to the grill for another 5-6 minutes or until slightly charred. Try serving with some locally made vanilla ice cream!
- Grilled Mango. I’m a bit partial to this one, since mango is one of my favorite fruits, but grilling really does give this tropical fruit a delicious flavor. Slice and score the mango (follow these instructions through Step 2), drizzle with olive oil and place face down on the grill for 4-5 minutes. Mango is versatile in taste, so if you’re in the mood for something more savory, try adding a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and a few pinches of cayenne pepper; however, this is also great with honey and brown sugar!
- Grilled Watermelon. Ok, disclaimer: I’ve actually never tried this one, but let’s be honest, nothing says summer like cutting into a huge watermelon. Slice the fruit into 1-inch thick slices and lightly brush with honey. Grill briefly; about 2 minutes on each side should be enough. Serve with a sprinkling of lime juice if desired.
What’s your favorite summer fruit? Try throwing it on the grill and let me know how it turns out (and remember: honey makes everything taste better). Happy grilling!