When it comes to a summer grill, the usual suspects jump to mind: tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken wings, cedar-planked salmon. And for greener fare, corn on the cob, hearts of romaine, and skewers of veggies appear from time to time.
But how about fruits? They're typically not your go-to for grilling, but a hot flame can intensify their natural sweetness and give them a deeper, more complex flavor (a bonus if your fruits are not as ripe or juicy as you'd like them to be). Eat them right off the grill or add them to salads and salsas for a smoky spin on old favorites.
In no particular order, the top ten fruits for your summer grill:
Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples stand up well to heat, and any apple you normally use for baking is ideal for grilling too. Halve and core them before using.
Firm — yet ripe — pears are perfect candidates for throwing on a hot grate to bring out their sweetness. Toss with arugula and toasted walnuts for a delicious salad.
#3 Stone Fruits
Nectarines, peaches, apricots, and plums should be halved, pitted, and grilled cut sides down until juicy. Serve as a refreshing side to meats, or toss them into a fruit salad, scatter mint or basil on top, and finish with a drizzle of wine vinegar.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, and even watermelon transform into a richer, sweeter version of themselves on a grill. Slice them into 1-inch thick rounds or halves for easy flipping.
Skewer the berries, brush them with a balsamic glaze, and grill for a minute or two, turning once. The tangy, smoky berries are blissful over ice cream.
Pineapple chunks are best grilled on skewers, and are especially good in a medley with onions and peppers. Off the grill, turn them into a smoky salsa with a handful of chopped cilantro.
Slice a bounty of ripe figs in half, brush with olive oil, and grill until juicy. Serve them with a smear of goat cheese and a slice of prosciutto for an indulgent appetizer.
Mild persimmons turn brighter and bolder over a hot flame. Slice in half and grill cut sides down until attractive grill marks form on the flesh.
You may never make guacamole the same way again: Halve and pit a couple of avocados, grill for a few minutes until charred, and mash with the usual accompaniments for a smoky, savory take on a California standby.
Slice oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes in half and grill cut sides down until they begin to caramelize. The tangy fruits are especially good in chutneys.