Photo Credit: www.wellfedheart.com
Earlier, I promised you some refreshing and sweet barbecued fruit recipes to complement your meaty roasts. Now I’m sure you were at least a little sceptical when I used the words “barbecued” and “fruit” together, but the fact is that the two actually bring out the best in each other.
Fruits are basically water and sugar. When cooked on the barbie, their rich flavours are concentrated by reducing the water and caramelising the sugars. What you end up with are delicious and inventive side dishes, appetisers or desserts.
When barbecuing fruits, be sure to follow these general tips:
- Hard fruits, such as apples and pineapples are the easiest to barbecue because they hold their shape well, rather than turning mushy when soaked or cooked. Soft fruits, such as peaches and plums can certainly be barbecued; you just need to take care not to overcook them.
- Even if you are intending to eat the fruits without their skins on, leave them unpeeled while cooking. This will help to hold them together.
- Prior to cooking, soak the fruit in lemon water for 20-30 minutes. This will ensure they don’t dry out on the barbie and that they’re natural flavours are not sucked out of them.
- Be sure to thoroughly clean your grill before putting the fruit on it. There’s nothing worse than a watermelon that tastes like last week’s steaks.
- Lightly spray the grill with cooking oil or brush the fruit with butter to prevent it from sticking to the grill. Don’t use any strong oils, such as olive oil, that will overpower the flavours of the fruits.
- You can boost the natural flavours of the fruit by marinating them with spices or alcohol. Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and rum are a few favourites.
So now that we’ve got that sorted, which fruits are best suited for the barbie? Well, it’s hard to go wrong really, but the following are my top 10:
A classic summer fruit, Watermelon is known for being juicy and refreshing, and it’s no different when barbecued. Grill it, let it cool, add some rocket and balsamic vinegar and you have a delicious watermelon salad.
Banana is another one of those stock standard fruits that can be taken to another level on the barbie. Leaving the peel on, cut it in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the cut sides with brown sugar and grill for a couple minutes, being sure not to burn the sugar. Serve with ice cream for a great dessert.
Peaches are delicious, but delicate, so you need to be careful not to turn them to mush when cooking them. Leave the skin on, cut in half and grill cut side down for a couple of minutes. They’re a perfect side dish for all meats, but particularly pork and chicken.
Apples get a bad rap as being “boring”, but they’re certainly not boring when cooked. The flesh inside softens and sweetens while the skin stays crisp. Cut them into thin slices and cook until you’ve achieved that perfect contrast.
A highly underutilised fruit here in Australia, grilled coconut is a wonderful surprise for everyone. Simply cut them open and grill flesh side down until the whiteness has turned a golden brown. Great served with chocolate.
Figs are a very versatile fruit that make great appetisers or desserts. Select firm ones that will hold their shape, cut them in half, lightly sprinkle with brown sugar and cook.
Pineapple is a classic barbecued fruit and no top 10 list would be complete without it. Cut into slices, remove the core and skin, sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon and grill until golden brown.
The natural sweetness of strawberries and the traditional smoky BBQ flavour makes for a delicious contrasting combination. Skewer them and cook until softish without making them mushy and shapeless.
Much like other melons, rockmelons’ flavour actually deepens when barbecued, while still maintaining its refreshing sweetness. Cut into cubes, skewer and grill for a couple of minutes.
All citrus fruits are great on the barbie, as their sweet tang contrasts beautifully with the earthy BBQ flavours. And when it comes to citrus fruit, nothing is more classic than the humble orange. Slice it thinly and place the flesh on the grill.
What do you think? Are you planning on barbecuing any fruit to add to your next roast lunch or dinner? Let us know what your favourites are in the comments below.