I thought I was hitting most of the notes in the food pyramid, until I realized that chocolate/cacao dominated my sweet palate. I started looking for interesting, but simple, ways to tempt the appetite with seasonal fruits. If there is anything that can beat the produce as they tumble out of the farmers’ baskets, it is grilled fruits with some tantalizing accents.
Here, I also include the savory cucumber and zucchini which are still too timid to join the big-boys’ grill-troupe of meats, burgers and potatoes.
Stove-top grill pan.
- Sweet fruits: 2 one-inch thick slices of cantaloupe; 2 doughnut peaches slice in half and pitted
- Sweet glaze: 1/4 tsp of saffron threads crushed in pestle and mortar + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) + 2 tbsp honey + juice of 1/2 lemon + a pinch of salt
- Green fruits: 2 small cucumbers halved lengthwise; 2 tender zucchinis halved lengthwise
- Flavored salt: 1 tbsp porccini flavored salt + 1 tbsp Sicilian salt with lemon & mint
- Sweet garnish: lavender + lemon zest
Brush the cut sides of the fruits with sweet glaze. Brush cucumber and zucchini with EVOO and sprinkle the flavored salt on it. Heat a stove-top grill pan. Place the sweet fruits in one half and the green fruits on the other half; each with cut side down. Brush the top of sweet fruits with the glaze and the green fruits with EVOO and salt. Grill on each side for two to three minutes. Let cool slightly. Chop (or, not) and serve.
Notes, hints, tips:
- An alternative sweet garnish is to use pollen grains (yes, pollen that you can order online or from the farmer’s market) instead of the lemon zest.
- Use any flavored sea salt of your choice, or even make your own.
- An option is to serve the grilled fruits with yogurt.
- You can add the grilled green fruits to your regular salads.
- If in a rush, you can simply dry-roast the sliced stone fruits in a non-stick pan for 2-3 mins on each side. As the sugar caramelizes, it gives an unmatched depth of flavor. Here is a pluot (a cross between a plum and apricot) and some peaches without the whole shebang of glaze and garnish.