Put your fruit to the fire
Grilling caramelizes a fruit's natural sugars, lending it an outstanding flavor.
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"That way," she says, "one side will be crisp and the other caramelized, and it takes half the time!"Skip to next paragraph
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Three to four minutes is all that's needed to grill fruit, Adler says, as long as it is almost ripe when it's put to the flames. "I like a hot fire, just hot enough so I can get enough sizzle."
She recommends grilling fruit uncovered, unless it's underripe and needs to soften. And she doesn't always grill tidy, well-proportioned slices. Instead, Adler might thread a skewer with pieces of a variety of fruits, including whole strawberries, which look great on the plate. She also likes to fiddle with different sauces, especially butter or vegetable oil and a mix of fresh herbs, transforming the fruit into a savory dish. For presentation, she might thread the fruit onto a rosemary branch.
There is perhaps no end to innovation when it comes to grilling fruit. Even these accomplished authors keep going back to learn more, putting fruit to the flames and experimenting with imaginative ways to enhance its natural sweetness.
"Heat and sweet work in interesting ways, which is why grilled fruit works so well," says Raichlen, adding what has practically become his motto: "If something tastes good baked, fried, or sautéed, it probably tastes better grilled."
Grilled Sugar-Dipped Pineapple
1 ripe pineapple
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the grill to high.
Cut the leafy top off the pineapple, then cut off the rind. Slice the fruit into 8 or 10 even rounds. Using a pineapple corer or paring knife, remove the core from each round.
When ready to cook, place the melted butter in a shallow bowl; combine the sugar, lime zest, cinnamon, and cloves in a separate bowl. Bring both bowls grillside.
Oil the grill grate. Dip each slice of pineapple first in melted butter, then in the sugar mixture, shaking off excess.
Grill the slices, turning with tongs, until browned and sizzling,
5 to 8 minutes per side.
Transfer the pineapple slices to plates or a platter, arranging the slices in an overlapping fashion.
Serves 8 to 10.
– From 'The Barbecue Bible!' by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing)
4 firm peaches (or substitute pears or apples, or do a medley of fruit
Prepare and preheat the grill to medium-high.
Peel peaches and cut in half (remove the pit). Grill about 4 minutes per cut side.
If desired, serve with caramel sauce or a sprinkling of brown sugar. Or fill centers with a spoonful of blueberry preserves (see photo). A side of homemade vanilla or peach ice cream would be terrific, too.
– From 'The Best Little Grilling Cookbook,' by Karen Adler (CelestialArts/Ten Speed Press)