When it comes to grilling, most people think of the requisite burgers and dogs, maybe some corn or chicken thrown in there. But what about the sweet world of grilled fruit? In its prime during the summer months, fruit gains a smoky-sweetness from the grill and pairs well in both sweet and savory dishes.
What fruits work well on the grill? Tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples, mangos, melons like cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon (try it with a bit of smoky salt or feta), stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and cherries, and even pears and apples — so basically almost any fruit. Plus, fruits are very nutritious and are low in fat and calories but packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so they are great healthy foods to add to the barbecue spread.
Though most fruit can just be eaten raw, grilling adds a new component to the mix so we picked up a copy of the newly released Fire it Up, which has over 400 grill recipes and an excellent section on grilling fruit, to learn the best ways to do it.
What's the best way to grill fruit? Authors Andrew Schloss and David Joachim recommend direct, medium-high heat to "get the job done quickly without turning the fruit to mush." They write that while fruit eaten fresh tastes best at the peak of ripeness, "for grilling, you want slightly underripe fruit so it won't fall apart or get mushy."
Most fruit benefits from being sliced or halved and grilled fleshy side down, but apples and pears can be cored and cooked whole (like the recipe below) and the same goes with stone fruits that just need to be pitted. The benefit of grilling fruit is to caramelize the natural sugars that come from it coming in contact with heat and getting those gorgeous grill marks. Try serving the fruit as dessert with ice cream, topped with fresh herbs like mint or basil, in a salsa served atop grilled meats or fish, or simply grilled alongside chicken, pork, bison, or fish.
Try the recipes below or feel free to play around on the grill with whatever you have on hand! Plus check out this fabulous book as it's a great one to have on hand.
Playing up the flavors of sweet and savory, the prosciutto de Parma adds the perfect texture to the soft, grilled nectarines.
Beef makes good satay, so why not banana? After all, it’s meaty and rich. Enrobed in sweet peanut sauce and shaggy shredded coconut, these banana medallions are delicious with grilled pound cake...
Using fresh, seasonal stone fruit like peaches or cherries and pairing it with salty ricotta and sweet honey makes for a perfect summer grill recipe.
Baked apples go well with pork and nuts like walnuts, which makes this recipe a must-try.