GRILLING SUMMER FRUITS WITH A DASH OF SPICE
Summer is the time of year to enjoy all those luscious fruits that have been slowly ripening and are now ready to pick. The choice of fruits is plentiful, like peaches, plums, strawberries, cantaloupes, and watermelons. This is also the time of year we are firing up our barbeques to grill meats, vegetables, and fish. However, we do not often think about grilling fruit. Grilling summer fruits enhances their taste. It helps caramelize their natural sugar and intensifies their already sweet flavor. And by adding a dash of spice, we can add another fun layer of flavor complexity to the mix. There are a whole variety of spices that go well with fruits, such as: salts, peppercorns, chile peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and even sumac, a Middle Eastern spice with a tart lemon-like flavor. Spice For Life would like to share with you two of our favorite grilled fruit recipes.
Watermelon’s natural sweetness and juiciness pairs well with the tanginess and salty flavor of cheese. In this recipe, we use a Greek cheese (Halloumi) made usually out of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It keeps its shape when grilled for a short period of time. Grains of Paradise is in the ginger family, related to cardamom, and indigenous to the west coast of Africa. It adds a peppery flavor (though not as peppery as black pepper) combined with a fruity, clove, cardamom like taste. The addition of mint adds a certain freshness. Thus, all the flavors combine to make this grilled summer fruit dish a unique and easy to make appetizer.
A key to grilling summer fruits, like on a fruit kabob, is to use fruits which are not over ripe. You want to choose fruits that are still very firm, so they will stay on the skewers. And of course, you need to soak the wooden skewers in cold water for 20 minutes before using. There are a multitude of fruits, which can be used, both winter and summer fruits. For the Spice For Life recipe, our favorite summer combination are: peaches, plums, cantaloupe, and strawberries. We lightly coat these fruits with a mixture of maple syrup, ancho chile pepper, and Vietnamese cinnamon, which compliments the sweetness of the fruits and adds a little heat for balance. After the fruit kabobs are grilled, we sprinkle on a little sumac (no not the poisonous berries). This sumac comes from Turkey and Lebanon and has a tart flavor that seals the meal.
So, take advantage of the abundance of the summer fruits and remember to try throwing them on your grill after your done cooking your steaks.