Grilled fruit is a fantastic way to lighten up classic grilling recipes. Even if reducing calories is not your goal, grilled fruit can add new flavors and life to your favorite, traditional summertime recipes.
Throw a slice of grilled pineapple on a burger and you'll never miss the tomato. A foil pouch of grilled peaches makes the perfect glaze and side dish for either grilled pork chops or ribs, and grilled mango will bring a touch of the tropics to your favorite salsa recipe.
Grilling the fruit caramelizes its natural sugars so the outside layer has a slightly smoky and really rich, sweet flavor, and maybe a little crispiness from the char. It makes all of your favorite fruits taste like something new and unexpected. Just about any fruit can be grilled. For smaller fruits, like berries and cherries, get a grill basket to keep them from falling through the grates.
My favorite way to use fruit cooked this way is as a dessert. After all, s'mores aren't the only dessert that can be made over a fire. Grilling fruit keeps you outside, with your guests, and keeps your kitchen cool and clean. Best of all, it's a lot lower in calories and fat!
Plain grilled pineapple, mangos and grilled peaches all by themselves make for a really satisfying dessert. Grilling pineapple gives it a flavor like it's been rolled in brown sugar. It tastes something like pineapple upside-down cake, but without the cake or weird plastic cherries. Of course, you could make up some whipped cream and a simple syrup to drizzle over the fruit if you want to dress up your grilled desserts a bit.
Another way to use grilled fruit is in place of simple fresh fruit in your dessert recipes. Grilled peaches make for the perfect fruit in a peaches and biscuits dessert. Or you could use them for peach shortcake, if you don't want to make biscuits.
Pre-heat your grill to at least 500 degrees Farenheit.
- Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple.
- Use your knife to cut down the sides of the pineapple and remove the skin and "eyes" (those little round things that stay in the pineapple).
- Cut the pineapple in half (lengthwise) then cut each halflengthwise again.
- Cut out the core from the quarters by making a diagonal slice on either side of the core (in a V shape) so the core pops out.
- Cut each quarter in half again.
- Grill on each side just until you notice the surface is beginning to look dry. You should have nice grill marks by that time too. Turn and continue to do this on all three sides.
- Once done, remove to a platter.
- Cut peaches in half and remove pit. If using clingstone peaches (the kind where you can't pop out the pit) just cut each of the halves around the pit. You can then also cut the ends and grill them too if you wish.
- Place the peaches, skin side up, on the grill and check after two minutes. They should have good grill marks and be just starting to soften. If they aren't quite ready, turn them slightly (to get those cross hatch grill marks) and check after another minute or two.
- Flip the peaches over and cook skin side down for no more than two minutes.
- Remove to a platter.
- Peel the mango using a sharp knife.
- Cut down (lengthwise) on either side of the pit. You can cut the end pieces and grill those too if you wish.
- Cut each mango half into four or five equal strips (depending on how big your mango is).
- Holding the pieces together, in their original half mango shape, lay them on the grill flat side down.
- Once you have good grill marks, go ahead and flip the mango over and cook for another two minutes.
- Once done remove to platter.
Grill for two minutes and check for grill marks and slight browning of the rest of the mango (the mango won't soften like the peaches).
Plate up fruit so everyone gets some of each variety, and serve with whipped cream, a fruit sauce, or yogurt. You can even chop a mixture of the fruit and serve it over vanilla ice cream.
Cut up as many fruits as you would like. If I'm serving 4 people, I generally use 1 pineapple, 8 peaches and 2 mangos. That makes for a very generous fruit plate.
Depending on what your grill grates look like, you may need to brush them down with a little vegetable oil before grilling the fruits. The sugars in the fruits make them stick to the grates a bit more than meat does. You can rub down the grates with a pair of tongs holding a rolled up towel that you've dipped in oil.
This post is part of the BlogHer Light & Fresh Summer Grilling series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Michelob ULTRA Light Cider and BlogHer.
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