Every Thursday morning on our AM-1290 “Farm to Table” radio show, co-host Baron Ron Herron and I delve into the world of seasonal produce, recipes, cooking techniques, and really anything in the realm of food and farming.
We also occasionally segue into general happenings around town and city politics that impact our farmers’ markets during our show, which airs on the News-Press radio station.
But we focus primarily on good eats, and our phone lines are open for calls. This past week at the very end of our show, one of our listeners called to inquire about grilling fresh summer fruit. This is one topic I’m happy to dive into.
Grilling fresh seasonal fruit is quite simple, and the pleasing smoky char that develops on the fruit is well worth any effort. If using summer stone fruit, such as peaches, apricots or pluots, it is best to select fruit that is ripe yet still relatively firm. This enables the fruit to develop more notable grill marks without falling apart.
In addition to stone fruit, my other favorite fruit to grill is watermelon, which can be cut into thick wedges and cooked on a hot grill with a little non-stick spray.
This week, however, my focus is peaches.
When grilling peaches, it’s best to use free-stone varieties rather than cling so that the pit comes out easily and the halves perfectly sectioned. Most peaches you will encounter at this point in the season are in the free-stone category, but you can always ask your local farmers when purchasing.
To add a little extra flavor that pairs very well with peaches, I like to add a little flavoring of ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to make it pop. Grilled peaches can be served on a platter once done with any barbecue spread or served as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center. Any leftover peaches can be chopped up to make a grilled peach salsa when tossed with diced onion, cilantro, jalapeño and fresh lime or lemon juice.
This week, I went the dessert route.
Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
4 large ripe but firm peaches
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Non-cook spray or oil for the grill (I like the flavor that coconut oil adds, but any will do)
Vanilla ice cream
Fresh mint leaves to garnish
Preheat the grill to high heat. Cut your peaches in half and discard the pits. Add melted butter to a bowl. In a separate bowl, toss together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Dip each peach half in the butter, then place the cut side up on a plate.
Sprinkle the top of each peach with brown sugar mixture and gently rub with finger to coat. Oil grill. Place peaches skin side down on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes.
Then flip and place the cut side down on the grill and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until nice grill marks form and it is just cooked through.
Plate cut side up and place a scoop of vanilla ice cream into the cavity of each. Garnish with fresh mint.
Yield: Makes 8 peach halves.