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THE LITTLE FOODIE


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Grilling gives flavor to fruits that are less than perfect

By Mariko Jackson

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:50 p.m. HST, Jul 16, 2013


Fruit really needs no introduction. I often see recipes for strawberry salads, raspberry muffins and mango cobblers and ask, “Do these taste better than the fruit itself?”

You can’t improve a perfect peach, and a ripe mango is best enjoyed without even the accompaniment of a utensil after peeling. Fruits need the least amount of preparation and are arguably better when cold. There are few foods that could rival the pleasure of a chilled, ripe, juicy fruit.

I sometimes get tricked by a great deal, such as a dozen cheap nectarines. The nectarines were a bit hard when I bought them, but the promise of sweetness was too much to resist.

Even after a week on the counter, those nectarines were hard, and I knew their crunch would seal my dislike of that picked-too-early fruit. Let this be a lesson that the fruit I buy should be local and at the peak of the season, rather than shipped from afar under a deceptively ripened color.

Still, I miss the stone fruits of late summer, and though they don’t always deliver, occasionally I put them in the shopping basket anyway.

I was preparing some veggies for our barbecue, so I decided to put on the nectarines, too. Pretty soon we were adding grapes and a crunchy, just-under-ripe mango that had fallen from our tree too early.

Success. The heat softened the nectarines’ texture and caramelized and brightened their bland flavors. The grapes were good before, but the heat deepened their flavor and they melted in our mouths like little candy tomatoes.

In all cases the fruits tasted best while hot or warm. The fire helped them live up to their sweet potential, with just a hint of smoke.

Here’s how to pull it off: 

Be sure to build a fire with briquettes stacked on one side so that the other side of the grill is not directly over the fire.

Grilled Nectarines

2 underripe nectarines

3 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut fruit in half and remove pit. Rub halves with olive oil then rub with brown sugar.

When grill is ready, place nectarines over indirect heat. Flip after 5 minutes and let it grill another 5 minutes.

Remove and serve plain, or with some cream or yogurt for dessert.

Grilled Grapes

About 30 grapes

3 metal or wood skewers

Thread grapes onto skewers and grill for about 5 minutes.

Grilled Mango

1 underripe mango

½ teaspoon olive oil

Remove skin from mango and slice two sides from the pit.

Rub olive oil on slices and place on grill over indirect  heat. Flip mango after 5 minutes and continue cooking until color deepens into a brighter yellow, about 5 more minutes.






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