Grilled fruit is possibly my favorite thing about summer. The beautiful, ripe fruits that are available during this time of year, freshly sliced and combined with the smoky deliciousness that grilling imparts is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful culinary marriages ever. Here are some ideas:
-Slice figs, peaches, plums and/or nectarines and grill flesh-side down for just a few minutes. The idea is to give the fruit grill marks and slowly bring out the fruit's natural sugars--but leave it on for too long and it'll fall apart. Then scoop a little bit of whole milk ricotta into the middle of the fruit. Drizzle with a little balsamic reduction (see condiments posting) or local honey and fresh cracked pepper. Serve with thinly sliced baguette slices and cold proseco.
-Slice a couple of really ripe oranges or grapefruits into 1/4"-thick disks. Grill on both sides for a few minutes until you see marks on the flesh. Serve over a bed of baby arugula with an orange-balsamic dressing, dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese.
-When grilling fish or chicken, place some thinly-sliced lemons on top. When you turn the meat, be sure to keep the lemon slices intact. When they meet the grill they will caramelize and sear their flavor into chicken or fish and give off a wonderful smell. Sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley.
-Grill pineapples rings and thickly-sliced red onion rings until they are lightly charred on both sides. The combination is delicious on everything from veggie burgers to chicken sandwiches, or even fajitas.
-Grill mango and pineapple until lightly charred and toss with chopped onions, cilantro, tomatoes lime, and chiles to make a great summer salsa--really delicious over grilled fish.
Outdoor grilling is definitely ideal, but much can be done on your stovetop with a good grill pan. Just make sure the grill pan is cast iron and keep it lightly oiled when you're not using it. George Foreman grills are nice for quick dinners, but they can't give food a very authentic grilled flavor.
Summer is nearing its end, but there is still plenty of time to get in some good barbequing. Why not add some fresh fruit to the usual smattering of meat? Happy grilling!