By Alice K. Thompson
Whole Foods, Inc., 2015
It’s July 2015 and Summer is just beginning!
Be sure to check back to get some of these featured recipes that can also be found on “On the Menu @ Tangie’s Kitchen”, as well as this blog.
Tree-ripened stone fruits are one of the wonders of summer. It’s not an exaggeration to say I wait all year for that taste of a perfect honey-sweet peach or snap and juice of great plum. When they’re around at their best it’s almost obligatory to make the most of them, enjoying them all day long─and, happily, that means moving them outside for grilling.
Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and Pluots: The alchemy of fruit with heat and smoke is irresistible, and like many of my very favorite foods these go terrifically in both savory and sweet preparations. You can grill them alongside a main course of meat, chicken, seafood or tofu. Or take advantage of the residual heat left in your coals as the evening wanes to gently cook them for a superb dessert.
New to grilling stone fruits? Here are some quick tips to get you started, plus some of my favorite recipes to take you from breakfast to dessert.
•Ideal fruits for the grill are nicely ripe but still firm. Overripe fruits may fall apart with heat, and under-ripe fruits won’t develop proper flavor.
•Most stone fruits should be halved by first cutting through the stem end until you feel the pit, then moving your knife all the way around the fruit. Put your knife down, twist the two halves gently apart, and you should be able to lift the pit out easily.
•Stone fruits grill best over moderate heat. Ideally you want the fruits to begin to caramelize and develop nice brown grill marks without charring and to be softened and heated through but still firm enough to flip with tongs.
•To prevent sticking, first scrape the grill grate with a wire brush so it’s scrupulously clean. Then hold a folded square of paper towel with tongs and dip it in a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed before rubbing it over the grates.
•If you don’t do grilling, or just don’t do it as much as you’d like, you can adapt just about any recipe to a stovetop grill pan or to the broiler. If using a grill pan you’ll most likely need to increase the cooking time slightly, and under the broiler you’ll probably have to decrease it slightly to avoid charring.
For Breakfast or Brunch:
Grilled fruit is ideal served with just a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of almonds. Or make it a company-worthy meal with these Grilled Sausages with Maple-Glazed Fruit, a particularly succulent recipe for peaches. You can even grill some frozen waffles up alongside the fruit for tremendous morning celebration.
Photo: Smoky Nectarine Punch
Yes, drinks! Caramelized, lightly smoky grilled fruits are fantastic in cocktails. You can grill halved peaches and plums, then chop or slice them to add to a summery sangria for wonderful depth of flavor.
Or try this new Smoky Nectarine Punch featuring sparkling wine and lots of fresh thyme. Make up a batch to entertain yourself and your guests while you’re preparing the main course.
With Poultry and Beef:
Photo: Simple Grilled Beef Short Ribs
Fruit-and-meat pairings are universally popular and particularly easy to make at the grill. A great starter recipe is Spicy Grilled Peach and Chicken Kabobs, a dish you can make with pork as well as with whatever stone fruit you have fresh and ripe.
Also try a little bit of beef. Just grill up some plum halves brushed with balsamic vinaigrette to serve with this simple, yet terrific three-ingredient recipe for Grilled Beef Short Ribs.
For Seafood and Vegetarian Dishes:
Substitute a stone fruit for pineapple in Mahi-Mahi Pineapple Skewers with Tomatillo Salsa, a dish that you could also make with extra-large shrimp or sea scallops instead of fish.
For an easy meatless meal, prepare this popular Grilled Teriyaki Tofu and grill some apricots or nectarines brushed with a little soy sauce alongside the tofu and garnish with some chopped chives or basil.
And it’s hard to top Grilled Peaches with Dandelion Greens and Ginger Dressing for outstanding summer flavor. Add some grilled halloumi cheese to make it a main course.
Lavender Grilled Fruits Over Ice Cream Gluten-Free Grilled Stone Fruit Trifle
Grilled fruit drizzled with honey and sprinkled with herbs is about as simple and delicious as summer dessert gets. You can take it a step further with this easy Lavender Grilled Fruits Over Ice Cream; the recipe calls for apricots and nectarines, but you can substitute other fruits, and use lemon thyme instead of lavende
And for a luxurious but light dessert you can make it up to 1 day ahead, you can’t beat this gorgeous Gluten-Free Grilled Stone Fruit Trifle featuring angel-food cake and low-fat yogurt.
So have a love affair with your grill this summer, because it is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the weather and summer stone fruits this season!