Cooking on a grill is for more than just savory items — fruit is a fantastic and underrated grilling ingredient. Fruit transforms when cooked over fire, becoming caramelized with smoky layers of flavor. A wide variety of fruit ranging from peaches to pineapples are awesome on the grill — the only difference is the cooking time and seasoning.
Generally, fruit for the grill should be kept chunky or in larger pieces to avoid it disintegrating during cooking. Fruit like peaches and plums should be halved before being grilled. For smaller fruits like strawberries or cherries, it’s helpful to place them on skewers. Remember — soft fruits like mango cook very quickly so pay attention to both cooking time and temperature. Also, be sure the grill grates are clean to avoid the fruit sticking and unwanted flavors being imparted from leftover grilled meats.
One of the best aspects of grilled fruit is the endless flavor combinations that are available. Herbs like mint or basil are great additions to grilled fruit. Grilled fruit is also great with spicy flavors like chilis or a creamy dairy like ricotta or yogurt. Another creative take involves adding a bit of savoriness (like salt) to grilled fruit, creating complex levels of flavor. Grilled fruit is also a lighter and more refreshing dessert compared to richer items like cakes or pies. This lightness makes grilled fruit a particularly tasty treat in the hot weather of summer.
(By Chef John Castellucci of Atlanta’s Cooks & Soldiers)
Cooks & Soldiers draws its inspiration from the people and cuisine of the Basque Country in Spain and France. Central to the restaurant is the asador, a wood-fired grill. At Cooks & Soldiers, the asador is the centerpiece of the kitchen, cooking whole meats and seafood as well as desserts. Their large asador dishes are designed to be enjoyed communally, accompanied by a variety of fire-roasted vegetable dishes.
- 5-6 peaches
- 1 cups ricotta
- 1/8 cup milk
- zest of ½ lemon
- salt to taste
- ½ bottle of port
- sugar and red wine vinegar to taste
- agar (1% of total port weight after reduction)
- 1 bunch parsley
- ½ bunch chives
- 1 cup olive oil
- Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Place peaches over grill grates until the surface becomes an even char. Do this quickly to avoid the peaches getting too soft.
- Once the peaches char, cool them down for 5-7 minutes before cutting into large slices to be served. Cutting the peaches into smaller pieces before grilling will make cooking more difficult to manage.
- To make whipped ricotta: Place ricotta in stand mixer (with paddle attachment) and whip slowly. Add milk and increase speed to high until ricotta mixture is light and fluffy. Season with salt and lemon zest.
- To make port gelee: Boil the port until its reduced by one-fourth. Turn off heat and let the port cool completely. When cooled, weigh the port (in grams) and measure 1% of that weight in agar (1000g of port would call for 10g of agar). Whisk agar into the cooled port thoroughly before placing over the stove. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit until the liquid becomes firm. Then, break into large chunks and blend everything on high in Vitamix until smooth. Set aside.
- To make chive oil: Blend parsley, chives, and olive oil on high in Vitamix until mixture is hot and steaming. Strain through coffee filter to remove solids. Place container in ice bath to rapidly cool and preserve the green color.
- To serve, plate peaches with whipped ricotta, port gelee & chive oil. For a final garnish, dress raw watercress with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt and place over peaches.
Read more: How to Freeze Peaches
(By Claire Wells of Baked By Claire)
An experienced baker, Claire Wells has over 10 years of pastry experience. She has a wide range of knowledge, gained from her studies in New York, a vegan café on the West Coast, running a bakery in Spain, and cooking at a steak house in Toronto. She currently runs a baking blog and a YouTube channel, Baked by Claire, where she shares her unique recipes.
- 1 ripe mango
- ½ ripe pineapple
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- 8 thick slices of brioche
- 1 tablespoon Tajin chili and lime seasoning (optional)
- In a small bowl, gently mix the mascarpone cheese with the honey and set aside.
- Peel mango and cut out the seed.
- Cut mango into wedges.
- Cut the ends off the pineapple and cut it in half across the middle (save one half for another recipe).
- Slice from the top down the middle of the pineapple and again to give you 4 pieces.
- On an angle, cut the core out and then cut into wedges.
- Place the fruit wedges and sliced brioche on a preheated grill on medium to high heat.
- Grill one side for 1-2 minutes or until grill marks appear.
- Flip the fruit and brioche and grill the other side for 1-2 minutes or until grill marks appear.
- Carefully rough-chop the fruit into smaller chunks or slices.
- Spread a generous amount of honey-mascarpone over the warm brioche.
- Add the mango and pineapple to the top of the mascarpone-covered brioche.
- Sprinkle with chili-lime if using, or an extra drizzle of honey. Scatter chopped pistachios over the top.
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