There is nothing new with grilling stone fruit (those with pits). But grilling is the height Summertime Americana dining. Any method to get kids to eat more fruit is a good thing. It stands to reason that if these types of fruits are good cooked — and most fruits are good cooked, just think of think of pies. So why wouldn’t grilling make them delicious? Elisabeth even made me grill canned pineapple slices last week. But the point of this entry to so how versatile grilled fruit can be.
The peach season where I live is a short one. To make matters worse, most of the peaches in the northeast are imported from elsewhere in the country which means they are picked before they ripen and it means you are left with eating a mealy flavorless mess – at the cost of two dollars per pound. This is, to say the least, disappointing. You can’t even go by smell. I just bought a bunch and they smelled wonderful, which was the only wonderful thing about them. They were perfumy and the kitchen was fragrant with the essence of peach. When they softened and looked to be at their peak, I ate one and discovered it was, as I described before: mealy and tasteless. This is the reason I usually resort to buying nectarines from the supermarket and only buy locally, freshly harvested peaches from a farm. Peach farms do not readily abound in my part of Connecticut and the farms that do grow peaches sell them small.
But these supermarket peaches smelled and looked so good and the season is sooooo short. I was drawn in and bought them. To solve my dilemma of having to eat seven dollars of bad fruit, I grilled them, saying “Well, it can’t make them any worse.” Usually I will grill fruit as an accompaniment to the meal, not just to get my money’s worth, but these were bad and I wondered if the grill could save them.
It did. They were delightful. Soft, sweet, tender and chewy, the exact opposite of when they were raw. The sugars came out and mended the mealiness. The flavors amplified and it only took four or five minutes. It is simple. Slice the fruit in half, remove the pit and grill on both sides until you start seeing nice grill marks and they become squishy but still firm enough retain their shape.
They are not just for desert, although ice cream makes a special kind of sundae. A little bit of Agave Nectar (or honey) helps the carmelization and sweetens the fruit, which little kids seem to enjoy more because the nectar balances the fruit’s flavor.
Serve grilled peaches alongside a steak, pork chop or chicken or any style of BBQ ribs. You have the grill going anyway. They’re terrific with chili. Yes, grilled peaches and avocado is a fantastic chili topping, and in the fall out of peach season the grill rescues those feeble, non tree ripened ones you may happen across. The soft sweetness is a daring counterpoint to anything spicy or tangy or salty. Toss them over a spinach and arugula salad with a vinaigrette dressing and goat cheese or gorgonzola. Once cooked the fruits require no topping, but mix things up. Drizzle them with a bit of Balsamic vinegar or bourbon before serving.