Monday, July 7, 2014

Up From The Ashes


My cooking lately has consisted almost exclusively grilling. Even when the weather is so windy that it's hard to get the charcoal started, I'm out there on the deck amongst the blowing sparks. It's worth it for the flavors of summer that I can't get on my little, two-burner countertop stove.

So, we've had whole chickens cooked under the dome on my Weber grill, steaks briefly sizzled over coals, and lamb chops that flare dangerously when the fat hits the fire. Corn cooks to lightly blackened perfection in just a minute or two on the grill, asparagus improves its nuttiness when exposed to the flames and, just yesterday, I had the idea to try smoking some fruit to see how that would taste.

Our friend, Jeanne, had sent us some cedar grilling papers in a little care package last week, and I thought they'd work to impart some smokiness to the fruit while still protecting it from the heat of the charcoal, so I wrapped some dark, sweet cherries in one packet and some just-ripe white nectarines in another.

The instructions said to soak the papers for a few minutes in water and that was good advice. Even over the hottest coals, the papers did no more than blacken along the edges to produce that divine smoke. The packets were strong and pliable going on the grill but crisp and delicate coming off.

And the contents did get that sweet smoke flavor! They also became soft as silk, literally melting in the mouth, and concentrated with sweetness. The cherries stained the inside of the cedar paper a brilliant red, and I was able to pour out a drizzle of dark, sweet juice as well. The cherry pits slipped easily out and the nectarine skin softened to velvet, just barely firmer than the melting texture of the fruit.

We had roasted a turkey breast on the grill along with the fruit, so we used the cherries and nectarines as a kind of fresh "cranberry" sauce for the meat. We got the smokiness from the turkey as well as from the fruit garnish, and the combination was a memorable one.

What shall I wrap and grill next? Any ideas? Maybe cheese, for a smoky appetizer? What do you think?

5 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

That sounds absolutely fantastic!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014  
Blogger Toons said...

I happen to be doing Salmon in Cedar Paper for dinner tonight! I'll let ya know how it turns out...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, I guess I still prefer the planks, as they require less watching, but these papers work better for fruit, as the cherries don't roll off into a fiery death.

Toons, no kidding! I will enjoy hearing how it went.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014  
Blogger Toons said...

Well I mostly used the recipe from the package for Salmon, but...I used sesame oil instead of olive oil and added some Merin. Shredded the carrot instead of match sticking. Rolled up and tied with a bow they went right on the hot grate over the hot coals. 5 minutes and a turn, 5 minutes more and done! Moist, flavorful, a little bit smokey and everything was done to perfection. Got to be the easiest grilling I have ever done! Gonna do it again, and again. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Toons, glad it was a big success! I used indirect heat but I think direct would be even better. Will try that next. Might be a little too hot for the fruit, but good for the fish.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

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