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Grilling Fruits And Vegetables

Grilling is a fun cooking technique that uses the utilization of dry heat to food. Depending on the cooking implementation, the heat comes either from the top like in a broiler or the bottom like in a barbecue pit. Gourmets and chefs differentiate grilling from broiling as the different heat source and cooks food in different ways.

When firing up the grill for a nice weekend barbecue, in addition to cooking steaks, chops, burgers and sausages, why not make a side trip to the produce section of the grocery or farmer for something to complement the protein overload.

This cooking method develops a distinct smoky flavor and aroma that cannot be reproduces by baking, frying, or sautéing, and microwaving. Sweet undertones also form as the natural sugars caramelize.

There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that can be added to your grilling menu and provide added nutrition and fiber to the meal.  It is important to know what produce takes the heat of the grill and keeps a nice texture without disintegrating.  Firm fruits suitable for grilling include apples, pineapples and pears.  As with these fruits and most vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant, zuchinni,  it is important cut these into thick slabs, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until just right.  Most often these just needs be brushed with some oil and cooked on the until nice grill marks develop and they’re ready to serve.  As such, toss these on the grill after the meat has been cooked so they’re still warm when served all together.

Softer fruits like avocado, papaya, mango and even watermelon can also be grilled and make a great complement during a summer or tropical themed barbecue.  For these fruits and soft vegetables such as oranges, pears, plums peaches, plantains, okra, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes most just needs to be heated through rather than fully cooking them.

There are two main ways to grill fruits and vegetables.  Aside from cutting it into thick slices and cooking directly on the grill, firmer produce such as corn, shallots, carrots, zucchini can be cut into thick chunks and skewered before grilling.  These skewers can be all vegetables or combined with chunks of meat.  Marinate as you would with your regular recipe.

Grilled fruits and vegetables makes for a great accent on your normally char grilled protein spread.  Not only does it add fiber and nutrition but a lot of color as well.

Jamie Simon