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. Even avocados are a hot item for the grill. (Yes, avocado is 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. I like to add feta or goat cheese, both of which tend to 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. Consider marinating pineapples. 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.
Choose fruit that is firm and not overly ripe and leave the skin on. 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.
Apple and Honey Marinated Pork Chops With Grilled Peaches
Serves 2 generously.
Note: Plan ahead as the meat needs to marinate for three to four hours. From Susan Selasky of the Detroit Free Press.
Marinade and chops:
• 1 c. apple juice or cider
• 1/4 c. honey
• 1/4 c. canola oil
• 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
• 2 thick (about 1 1/4 in.) pork chops with bone, trimmed of visible fat
• 2 peaches or nectarines cut in half, pit removed
• 1 tbsp. canola oil
• 1/4 c. feta, goat or blue cheese
• 1 tbsp. honey
In a glass measure, whisk together the apple juice, honey, 1/4 cup oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. Place the pork chops in a plastic sealable bag. Pour half of the marinade over the pork. Seal the bag and turn to coat the chops with the marinade. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Refrigerate the remaining marinade to baste the chops when grilling.
Prepare the grill or preheat it to medium-high heat. Oil the grates.
Remove the pork chops from the marinade (discard the marinade) and let sit at room temperature while the grill is heating.
Grill the pork chops about 5 minutes on one side or until well-seared with nice grill marks. Turn and sear on the other side, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low or move the chops to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Grill 10 to 15 minutes more, depending on the thickness. Occasionally baste the chops with the remaining reserved marinade.
The internal temperature of the chops should be 145 to 150 degrees.
Meanwhile, brush the peaches all over with the 1 tablespoon canola oil. About 10 minutes before the chops are done, place the fruit, flesh side down, on the grill. Grill about 4 minutes or until they start to become tender and have nice grill marks. Turn and place 1 tablespoon feta cheese where the pit was. Close lid and grill another 3 minutes to soften the cheese.
Place a pork chop and 2 peach halves on each plate. Drizzle honey over the peaches and serve.
Nutrition information per serving (using 1 tablespoon feta in each peach):
Calories 396 Fat 20 g
Sodium 497 mg Carbohydrates 31 g
Saturated fat 6 g Protein 25 g
Cholesterol 84 mg Dietary fiber 3 g