Well, friends, it seems that summer is here to stay! I hope you all had a relaxing, fun-filled July 4 th holiday! We were very lucky this year, as the long holiday weekend came with warm sunny days…followed by a whole week of warm, sunny days! How incredible has the recent weather been? Boy, I have been enjoying it. I don’t know about you, but sunshine always makes me happy!
Summer time is such great time to enjoy “taking our food out to play”! If you let your imagination go, you can get really creative with how you prepare and serve fresh foods. We are no longer limited to cooking indoors when the season turns to summer, and who wants to warm up the house any more than it already is anyways. Fire up the grill and throw another log on the fire…we are cooking outdoors this season! While we use our grill year round, there is really no comparison to summer grilling, and enjoying the backyard!
When planning your menu, chances are, if you can cook it in the oven, generally you can cook it on the grill. Meats and vegetables are generally the first thing to come to mind when we think of the grill, but why not start with dessert? After all, life is short, so start with dessert! Because of the natural sugars in them, fruits cook…and therefor grill…really well. Most any firm fleshed fruit can be cooked over the open flame of a grill. Also available in many cookware stores and departments are grilling baskets and sheets that work well for more delicate fruits, like berries or fruits that are very ripe.
I love to grill pineapple and peaches… While they are juicy and sweet to start out, after a few minutes on the grill the sweetness level increases and as for the tenderness…well they will simply melt in your mouth. Grilling larger pieces of fruit will be easier than grilling bite sizes, so if you will want them cut them smaller, I recommend doing so after cooking. I like to cut my peaches in half and brush the cut side lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Similarly, I will cut my pineapple in thick slices and again, brush lightly with EVOO. Grill for a few minutes on each side, turning when grill marks are showing. Another fruit that is great grilled is bananas. As with other fruits, choose firmer, bright colored bananas. I cut them in half, leaving the peel on, brush the cut side with EVOO and grill lightly.
As with anything we eat, you never know how something new will work out until you try, so don’t be afraid to get creative and take your food out to play!
Grilled Fruit Salad
1 large pineapple, ends removed, peeled and cored
4 ripe peaches, cut in half and pits removed
4 nectarines, cut in half and pits removed
4 bananas, peel on, cut in half
2 cups mixed berries (cook on a grill pan)
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ to ½ cup “sweet” salad dressing
(such as a fruit vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing)
Heat grill to medium.
Prepare fruits and lightly brush them with EVOO.
Place on grill, (peaches and nectarines should be placed cut side down) and cook 4-6 minutes per side (until warmed and grill marked)
Allow to cool and then cut into bite sized pieces, lightly toss with dressing and serve at room temperature or chilled.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.