Over hamburgers and hot dogs before summer has even started? Good. Let’s experiment. The charring potential shall not be limited this year. Besides, those perfect, crispy black marks can make any food a little more sexy.
The tag team of fresh and hot (not to be confused with “Hot n Ready”) is one of the most interesting culinary combinations – contrasting cool simplicity against a black singe really makes for a tasty conflict. Almost any food can and should go on the grill at some point (except like soups and stuff cause that would be messy). It all comes down to creativity and execution. Here are some ideas to get those alternative juices flowing.
Grill nature’s candy for dessert. Grilling caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugars and turns their flesh super soft and smoky. It’s fast and simple. Firmer fruits are harder to overcook and are the easiest to sear. Softies like bananas can be grilled as well – they relax into a delicious spoon-fed dessert. Brush fruit with butter, lay gently on the grill, and turn pieces until char marks appear on each side. Serve over salads or with ice cream. Try making fruit kebabs: line up peach, apple, plum, and mango. Don’t forget that butter, and then sprinkle with nutmeg immediately after removing from heat. Grill fruit soon after it’s cut or it’ll start to lose its freshness.
Have your cake and grill it, too. Try this with firmer cakes like pound cake or angel food cake. Steer away from crumbly cakes as you’ll risk them falling apart over the fire. Grilled cakes offer a toasty crunch- think hot caramelized edges served with vanilla ice cream. Grill two minutes per side and if you’re feeling fancy, serve with seared berries.
Yes, they are delicate. Choose hearty, woody herbs for grilling instead of softer varieties like basil – they will just scorch under the heat. Think thyme, bergamot, lavender. Grilling herbs lures out their floral qualities. Add these toasties to sauces, soups, and whiskey cocktails for an unexpected twist.
Yep, you are so going to grill an avocado. Leave the skin on, cut the fruit in half, take out the seed, and coat the flesh with olive oil. Place the cut side down and grill for about 5-7 minutes. The result will be smoky, yet still-fresh flesh. Top with salt, lime juice, Greek yogurt or sour cream atop salsa, then spoon-feed to self or loved one. Also, be sure to amaze your friends with the most delicious and healthy burger-topper ever.
Grilled Caesar anyone? These are killer. The trick to grilling lettuces is to find the freshest, crispiest leaves. You don’t want your leaves to turn into sad, wilted pieces. Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise. Grill over a low fire, cut side down, until marks appear – about 1 minute. Remove from heat and paint that Caesar dressing over the salad after you’re done, making sure it slides into the leaves’ crevices. For a more advanced move, top with Parmesean and then place back on the grill cut side up for about 15 seconds just to barely melt the cheese. The result: warm, charred outsides and a cool creamy interior. You can thank the folks at Thug Kitchen for another ridiculously awesome recipe.