Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Grilling!
You’re off and away!
You have coals in the pit.
You have fire at the ready.
Grill whatever you want
Just keep the heat steady.
You’re on your own. And you’ll do what you will.
And YOU are the gal who’ll decide what you’ll grill.
I think I’ll let my little Seussian adaptation mostly speak for itself, except to say, one more time, in non-Seussian speak: there are a lot of things you can grill. Here’s a proof:
1. Grilling is fire applied to food.
2. Lots of food benefits from fire.
3. You can grill lots of foods.
Not all fruits will benefit from grilling (torched grapefruit anyone?), but many will. Pineapple and bananas being the two I tried; peaches and nectarines being two more (albeit similar) ones that come to mind. I bet plums would be pretty awesome, too. Grilling fruit brings out all the natural sugars, forming a nice caramelized crust. Like healthy creme brulee! Kind of.
There are lots of slightly fancier ways to prepare grilled fruit, but for this first go-round, I just cut them up and let nature take its course. Served with dollops of sour cream.
To grill pineapple, simply:
1. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple.
2. Cut the pineapple into horizontal slices about 1/2 inch thick.
3. Grill, with peel still on (it helps the pineapple stay together). It’s a little tricky to eat — the peel plus the inner fibrous part make cutting difficult — but all the more excuse to use your hands.
To grill bananas, simply:
1. Cut bananas in half lengthwise (I used mini bananas, which are why they are smaller than the pineapple in the picture).
3. Scoop out to eat.
To grill nectarines, peaches, or plums, you would simply cut the fruit in half, remove the stone, and grill, cut side down. For all fruit, you want to grill it on the cut side (on pineapple, you’ll want to flip it), until it is caramelized (browned), with some good sear.
And now, one more ostensible fruit: the mighty avocado. Avocados won’t caramelize quite the same on the grill (not as much sugar), but grilling does seem to add a certain je nais se quoi. The real benefit here is the sauce, which does caramelize and seems to get smokier and more complex over the heat. Also, you can use avocados in various stages of rock-hardness over the grill; they don’t have to be perfectly ripe to achieve a nice creamy texture. The recipe for these avocados came as a topping for the coleslaw I wrote about last week. They were great on that, but would be equally great as an accompaniment to any grilled dinner — thrown into a salad after a grilled steak, on top of a burger, etc etc.
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Grilling!
Today is your day!
The flames are waiting.
So…get on your way!
Grilled Avocados with Cumin and Chili
From License to Grill, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
3 ripe but firm avocados, halved and pitted but not peeled
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 Tbsp. Ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Combine olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
2. Drizzle mixture evenly over the cut side of the avocado halves, spreading the sauce to coat.
3. Place them on a grill over a medium-hot fire, cut side down. Grill 3 to 5 minutes, or until seared. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and serve.