Grilling fruit is a wonderful warm-weather option because grilling brings out fruit’s natural sugars. Grilled fruit is also a good way to jazz up a meal. And it makes a nice dessert.
My go-to fruits for the grill are pineapple, peaches, nectarines and mango. Michigan peaches are coming in, and they are great for the grill. Even avocados are a hot item for the grill. (Yes, avocados are a fruit.) You can also grill lemon and lime halves. Their juices will take on a charred smoky flavor, perfect for adding another dimension to your summer cocktails.
Pineapple, peaches and nectarines are perfect for pairing with grilled chicken or grilled pork chops or tenderloin. Peaches and nectarines are my favorites for adding a savory twist to the plate, served with cheese and fresh herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary.
When grilling peaches or nectarines, cut them in half and remove the pits. You can grill the halves or cut them into wedges and then grill them. Either way brush the flesh with oil first. Grill peach wedges until you get good grill marks on each side. With peach halves, brush them with oil and grill flesh side down first. Once you get good grill marks on the flesh side, turn them over.
After grilling, sweeten up the fruit with some brown sugar. What I like to do is add feta or goat cheese. Both cheeses typically hold their shape and won’t ooze out all over. To serve, give the grilled peaches or nectarines a drizzle of honey and sprinkle with a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Balsamic glaze is also a nice pairing for peaches and nectarines.
Pineapple can be prepared many ways on the grill. First, peel (if you like) and core it. Cut the pineapple into rings a good 1/2-inch thick, If you cut the pineapple in half to core it, cut it into planks or 1-inch thick pieces. Before grilling pineapple, I like to marinate it. Typically I mix together some oil, brown sugar and rum. Spiced rum works really well. Season the marinade with cloves or cinnamon. Grill the pineapple just a few minutes per side or until you get some nice grill marks and it’s just tender.
When grilling fruit, choose fruits that are firm and not overly ripe and leave the skin on for most of them. If the fruit is too soft, there’s a chance pieces might fall apart and slip through the grill grates. Or it will simply become a pile of mush from the grill.
This recipe pairs pork chops with grilled peaches topped with feta cheese.