Some people believe that grilling is only for summer. Those people are wrong. There are also individuals that will have a complete meltdown if you suggest something to grill up that deviates from the norm. You know those people. They think grills are strictly for meat, meat, and only meat. And maybe a bun or something.
But what about fruit? What about other delicious carbs besides buns? What about cheese? (Gasp). Yes, cheese. It’s true, so read on to discover eight foods you didn’t know you could grill (and how to look like a certified grill magician).
Yes, you read correctly. Grilling grapes brings out their sweetness and can substitute for your everyday (boring) cherry tomatoes. They make an impressive appetizer when served with buffalo mozzarella and toasty bread. You can skewer the grapes individually or keep them in their tiny bunches. Toss them in a little EVOO (that stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those of you who never paid attention to Rachel Ray), and put them on the grill for two to three minutes until they start to char.
A stone fruit is any fruit with a big ol’ seed (aka pit). Peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines… you get the idea. Grilling actually caramelizes the fruit and brings out aromatics that you wouldn’t normally pick up when you eat it raw. Want to impress your friends? Grab some apricots, cut them in half and remove the pit, then toss them in melted butter. Everything’s better in butter, right? No. But in this case it is. Slap those babies flat side down, grill them for about five minutes, then let them sizzle for another five on the other side. Serve with a drizzle of honey and some creamy brie cheese. Not everything needs a cracker.
Have you ever cut open an avocado that seemed perfectly ripe, only to discover that it wasn’t quite ready? Problem solved–just grill it. Not only does it make it sweeter and creamier–if you can believe that–it also adds a light smokiness to the fruit. Yes, the avocado is a fruit. Simply cut it in half, lightly coat it with the quintessential EVOO, maybe some lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper, and then set it flat side down over a medium flame for three minutes. No need to flip it–just grab a spoon and nosh. Or mash it to make a simple guac. The world is your avocado.
Crunchy, a little peppery, and not everyone’s favorite… until now. Radishes get a bad rap, but they’ll be your new favorite for surprising guests. Just halve them–or keep them whole–toss in a little EVOO and put them on the grill. If you’re worried about them falling through the cracks, put them on a piece of foil or a grill pan. After five minutes, rotate them for another five minutes then put them on a platter and drizzle with melted butter, salt, and pepper. They’ll still be a little crunchy but also a little soft, and that stinky radish smell will disappear (until they cool down). But they’ll all be gone before then, so don’t worry too much about it.
Hallo-what? Halloumi is an incredibly salty, unripened cheese made from goat and sheep’s milk. Don’t get turned off by its rubbery, albeit squeaky texture–this cheese screams for the grill. It’s high melting point means it’s begging for the flame. Simply cut your cheese (hehe) into ⅓ inch pieces and grill them over high heat for three minutes on each side. You’ll know they’re done when they have those nice sear marks. Serve them with those grilled grapes from earlier, or throw them on a cracker. By the way, you can thank those bacchanalia-loving Greeks for this one.
If you’re looking for decadent, creamy, multi-layered cheesy goodness, you can thank the French for creating brie. It’s a soft cheese with an edible rind that holds up well when grilled, baked, or fried. Keep in mind that you’ll need the whole round of brie, not just a slice. If you grill a slice of brie, you’ll be cleaning your grill pan for the next year. Also, a simple slice of brie isn’t going to cut it for entertaining a group of people… or, you know, a party of one. The cooking method is simple. Spread a little EVOO on the round to prevent it from sticking. This cheesy treat doesn’t like scorch marks, so crank one side of your grill to high heat, and put the cheese on the other side. Close the grill and let it cook for two minutes, then flip and repeat. Serve with those grilled apricots from earlier, and you’ll make friends for life with party-goers and your stomach.
What is with this list? Rice balls? Yes. Called Yaki Onigiri in Japan, grilled rice balls (literal translation) are a staple at small bars that serve inexpensive dishes and snacks (and booze, of course). They’re just sushi rice that’s molded into triangles or ovals and sometimes filled with salted salmon, spicy roe, or seaweed. Onigiri can be wrapped in toasted seaweed that acts like a tiny little edible napkin. The fire from the grill adds a nice, smoky taste to the rice ball, and gives it a crispy outside to contrast with its nice, soft inside. It’ll make your mouth happy. To make onigiri, get some cooked rice and mold it into a shape of your choice with your hands. Lightly coat it in a thick sauce like teriyaki, or even just brush on soy sauce, or even a neutral oil. Gently place them over medium heat and wait for them to brown. Once they release easily, flip them and repeat. Eat as is or with a sauce of your choice. These rice nuggets hold up for two days in your fridge, but they won’t really last that long, will they?
Everything’s better with bacon, just like everything’s better with butter, right? This one seems obvious, because who doesn’t love a juicy bacon burger. But cooking bacon on a grill just seems intimidating. Maybe it’s all that sizzling meat juice popping off once the pork hits the grill, but in reality, it’s probably the easiest thing to grill on this list. The secret is to cook it low and slow. It’s worth it because grilling makes the edges of the meat crispier and intensifies the flavor, which means more bacon-y love all around. Be sure to use grilling tongs–burnt digits are no fun–and lay the bacon horizontally across the grill on low heat for two to three minutes. Flip and repeat for another minute or two, then let those crispy strips cool down before you chow down, because patience is a virtue, friend.