Grilled Plums: What’s a summertime Kabob Party without dessert? But can you really grill fruit? Sure they do it on the Food Network, but can you really do it at home? More importantly, can I? I’ll be honest I had my doubts about this one. But one thing about summer is it’s a good time to brush up on my grilling techniques. Sure, anyone can barbecue a steak, but it takes a real man to grill fruit!
In theory, grilling fruit is sexy, succulent, and sophisticated. The fire actually coaxes a sweet, caramel quality out of the fruit and onto your plate. Good grilled fruit has a magnified, intensified fruitiness that is hard to beat. It pairs well with ice cream or for a more elegant approach you could try mascarpone cheese.
Still, I had my fears about a grilled fruit kabob. Would the fruit get mushy? Would it fall off the stick? Would it get burnt or worse yet taste like old meat?
The only way to find out of course is to try it. So I did. I chose grilled plums. Most of the recipes I found called for a glaze of some sort. So I concocted my own glaze using rosemary simple syrup with a touch of honey and a hint of balsamic vinegar.
Despite my preconceived notions fruit is seems is an ideal candidate for the grill. Fruit is basically water and sugar. When we grill it, we can concentrate the flavors by reducing the water and caramelizing the natural sugars. The texture, taste, and temperature of the fruit is transformed. If you’ve never eaten grilled fruit, your taste buds are in for a pleasurable experience.
In order to get the best results, you’ll need to select fresh, ripe produce. Some fruits are more suited to grilling than others, too. Hard fruits like apples, pears, and pineapples are the easiest choices because they hold their shape while cooking. But softer fruits like peaches, nectarines, and plums really transform themselves into something special once grilled. You just need to be more attentive to them as the cook. Either way, pick a fresh firm fruit that is just shy of perfectly ripe.
Once you have chosen the fruit, cut it into the desired shape and size then soak it in water to boost the moisture content so it stays good and juicy on the grill. If you are using a fruit that discolors after cutting add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each cup of water to preserve the color. Let fruits soak in the acidulated water for 20 minutes. Add ice to the water if necessary.
It is best to grill fruit over medium heat on a very clean cooking grate. Nothing will ruin the flavor of fruit like old fish flesh. To keep the fruit from sticking to the grill, lightly spray the grill with cooking oil.
I think rosemary adds a nice flavor to many different types of fruit so I used a rosemary branch from my garden as the skewer. I think that it adds a little extra rosemary punch to my skewers, but at the very least it sure looks great. This is strictly a flourish; any sort of skewer will be fine.
So, pull out the BBQ and let’s grill fruit on sticks! Starting with Grilled Plums.
- 1⁄2 c water, plus more for soaking
- 1⁄2 c sugar
- 1 T rosemary leaves
- 1⁄4 c honey
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄2 c mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 3 very ripe plums, halved and pitted
- lemon zest for garnish
Make the glaze: Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes. Pour liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into a cruet or airtight container, discarding rosemary sprigs.
While the liquid is still warm stir in the honey and balsamic. Glaze may be stored in refrigerator up to 1 month.
Stir about 1 tablespoon of the glaze into the mascarpone cheese until well combined. Set aside.
Cover the plums with cool water and let them hydrate about 20 minutes. Also, soak 4 sturdy rosemary branches or bamboo skewers in water for about 10 minutes. Thread 3 plum halves onto each one. Move the skewers to a plate. Brush the fruit generously with the glaze.
Prepare barbecue for medium-high heat. Grill the plums over indirect heat until heated through, turning once, about 2–3 minutes per side. Brush with a bit more glaze during cooking.
Arrange each skewer, cut side up, on an individual serving plate. Spoon some creme mascarpone mixture into the plate. Garnish with lemon zest. Serve warm or at room temperature.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD