The grill isn't just a place for burgers, dogs, and corn anymore. Fresh fruit has made its way into barbecue territory, with results so good, you'll think twice about settling for fruit salad. While some fruits are common enough on the grill (like pineapple), these six are more off the beaten trail: peaches, watermelon, strawberries, mango, and pears.
While all of these fruits are delicious on their own, grilling them brings out an extra richness, sweetness, and depth to their flavors, thanks to the caramelization process. Read on for more tips and how-tos so you can make the most of your summertime grilled fruit.
There's no comfort food quite like peach cobbler. Get the lean version by throwing a few peach slices straight on to the grill. I recommend brushing them (lightly) with butter before tossing them over the flame. The ensuing caramelization and slight charring of the peach will help recreate the crunchy texture you would normally get in a peach cobbler. If desired, dust with a little cinnamon or brown sugar.
Truth be told, it blew my mind a little to think that you could take watermelon—the quintessential cool and crisp fruit of summer—and get good results with some charring and heat. It took some endorsement from Mark Bittman, food writer for the NY Times, to confirm that watermelon is in fact quite succulent when grilled.
Adding a salty cheese to the grilled watermelon contrasts the sweetness with a savory and salty element. I also recommend adding a bit of balsamic vinegar to add a flavorful layer of complexity.
These guys can be a bit of a challenge on the grill—an inelegant flip could send them right into the flames! But the patience required to make them is worth the juicy results. The heat causes the cell walls of the strawberries to break down and leak water, creating a tender and syrupy result. I like to leave on the stems so that they add a crisp and crunchy accent.
You can even make them into kebabs, like Cooking on the Weekends did!
When you have a mango at the peak of its ripeness, it can only be described as tropical butter. Throwing it on the grill amplifies its natural sweetness, while the caramelization from the flames creates an almost crème brûlée-like texture. When served with a bit of chocolate sauce, it is divine.
It's great to throw these on grill when they have just ripened. While it's not easy to catch a pear right when it straddles the line between under-ripe and over-ripe, do your best to hit the mark. Too ripe, and the pear will likely disintegrate on the grill. Underripe, and it will taste a bit sour. When perfectly prepared, however, the result tastes like a candied pear. The grill marks of caramelized pear are my favorite part, leaving a chewy texture and extra sweet spot.