“Grilling fruit is starting to catch on in a big way,” says John Kuropatwa, executive chef of Spigola Ristorante, located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. “It makes a great addition to any summer meal, and is great just to eat as a snack. The grilling process caramelizes the natural sugars and really concentrates the flavors.”
This summer, keep these tips in mind when grilling fruit:
Fruits like apples, pineapples and pears are great for grilling. Just cut them open, remove the core and seeds, and they are ready for the next step.
Once the fruit has been cleaned and cut, soak it in water that has a teaspoon of lemon, for few minutes, and then it is ready for grilling. Brush lightly with cooking oil and place on the grill, pulp side down first, then turn over to the pealed side.
It only takes minutes per side for fruit to be properly grilled. Watch it carefully so that it doesn’t become overcooked. A couple of minutes per side, on a medium heated grill, will do the trick.
Bananas can be grilled by pealing, splitting lengthwise and brushing with oil. To grill berries, enclose them in foil, along with a pinch of sugar, and place the foil package right on the grill.
Be sure that the grill is clean when you put the fruit on it. If it has debris, it could alter the taste of the food.
Another good option is to take some favorite cuts of fruit, soak them in water, and then add to a skewer. Then, brush lightly with cooking oil, to make grilled fruit kebobs.
For flavorful additions, grilled fruit can become a side dish, an ice cream topping, or can be topped with chocolate shavings.
For a great grilled fruit experience, try a grilled fruit salad with blueberry vinaigrette:
Grilled Fruit Salad
2 Ripe Mangos
1 pint Black figs
1 pint Strawberries
1 golden delicious pineapple
1 head romaine lettuce
Wash and dry all fruit well (except pineapple). Pit and quarter the mangos. Then cut the strawberries and the figs in half. Clean the pineapple by cutting off the top and rind. Slice into rings. Place the fruit and the head of romaine lettuce on a hot grill and cook, turning occasionally, until they have char marks on all sides. Let the finished fruit and lettuce rest on the side.
Make the dressing for the salad
1 pint. Jersey Blueberries
½ C. sugar
2 C. of blended oil
½ C. red wine vinegar
½ C. Melba sauce
Add all ingredients except oil to a food processor. Blend until smooth. With processor running, add oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Reserve dressing for salad assembly.
Assemble the salad by placing 2 oz. of the dressing in a mixing bowl. Tear romaine into bite size pieces and place into bowl. Toss the romaine with the dressing and turn out onto a plate. Arrange the fruit on top of the lettuce and drizzle with some of the remaining dressing.
Chef’s note: If you enjoy cheese, crumbled goat or a mild bleu would be a wonderful addition to this salad.
“Grilled fruit not only tastes great, but it is very healthy,” adds Kuropatwa. “Once you try something like grilled pineapple, you will never again wonder what is going to be served for dessert, or memorable dish, at your barbecue. There’s nothing like it.”
About Spigola Ristorante
Spigola is a modern Italian restaurant based in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. The restaurant features a full menu of traditional and modern Italian cuisine, as well as an extensive wine list and bar. Executive Chef John Kuropatwa has over 20 years experience in the culinary field, with more than 15 years of them being in an executive chef role. The establishment also offers weekly live entertainment, events, specials, and daily happy hour, as well as catering services and private party facilities. To learn more about Spigola, visit the Web site at http://www.spigola.net.