Grilling Outside the Box
Mastering the grill is more than just cooking a succulent steak. To be a true barbeque connoisseur, you must learn how to properly grill fruits and vegetables! Make sure you start with clean grates and lightly coat the surface with oil using a cloth or cooking spray prior to preheating the grill. The oil will seal the pores of the grate’s surface and minimize sticking. Below are some more of our favorite helpful tips to turn your produce into smoky, delectable treats.
Fruit Grilling Tips
> Select firm but ripe pieces. Firmly textured fruits such as apples and pears tend to retain their structure during grilling. Softer fruits like plums, nectarines, melons and bananas – even grapes on their stem – will soften quickly.
> Leave the fruit unpeeled to help retain its shape while grilling. Most fruit can simply be washed, halved and pitted or cored.
> If you want to grill sliced fruit, it helps to use a hinged grill basket or perforated barbeque topper, or place a sheet of nonstick aluminum foil directly on the grill. Fruit can be threaded on skewers to serve with a dipping sauce.
> When ready to grill, it helps to lightly brush fruit with a mild cooking oil or melted butter. Grill fruit over medium direct heat just until fruit softens and browns slightly, turning once halfway through cooking.
> For a sugary-crisp coating, sprinkle brown or granulated sugar on the cut sides of the fruit; let stand 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. Grill fruit, cut sides down, for several minutes. If using a glaze, brush it on fruit near the end of cooking so the sugars don’t burn.
Vegetable Grilling Tips
> Preheat the grill on medium-high heat. If you can hold your hand five inches above the grill for only three to four seconds, then the heat is just right.
> Cut vegetables into equal-sized pieces to ensure vegetables will be finished cooking at the same time.
> Tossing vegetables in a little oil is an easy no-stick trick.
> Turn the vegetables every three minutes or so for even cooking, and remove from the grill when they’re tender-crisp. They’ll continue cooking after being removed from the grill.
> For a flavor boost, marinate vegetables in equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with minced garlic, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, marjoram and/or rosemary, and salt and pepper.