Grilling fruit is a wonderful warm-weather option because grilling brings out fruit’s natural sugars. Grilled fruit is also a good way to jazz up a meal. And it makes a nice dessert.

My go-to fruits for the grill are pineapple, peaches, nectarines and mango. Local Michigan peaches are now starting to come in and they are great for the grill. Even avocados are a hot item for the grill. (Yes, avocados are a fruit.) You can also grill lemon and lime halves. Their juices will take on a charred smoky flavor, perfect for adding another dimension to your summer cocktails.

Pineapple, peaches and nectarines are perfect for pairing with grilled chicken or grilled pork chops or tenderloin. Peaches and nectarines are my favorites for adding a savory twist to the plate, served with cheese and fresh herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary.

When grilling peaches or nectarines, cut them in half and remove the pits. You can grill the halves or cut them into wedges and then grill them. Either way brush the flesh with oil first. Grill peach wedges until you get good grill marks on each side. With peach halves, brush them with oil and grill flesh side down first. Once you get good grill marks on the flesh side, turn them over.

After grilling, sweeten up the fruit with some brown sugar. What I like to do is add feta or goat cheese. Both cheeses typically hold their shape and won’t ooze out all over. To serve, give the grilled peaches or nectarines a drizzle of honey and sprinkle with a a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Balsamic glaze is also a nice pairing for peaches and nectarines.

Pineapple can be prepared many ways on the grill. First, peel (if you like) and core it. Cut the pineapple into rings a good 1/2-inch thick, If you cut the pineapple in half to core it, cut it into planks or 1-inch thick pieces. Before grilling pineapple, I like to marinate it. Typically I mix together some oil, brown sugar and rum. Spiced rum works really well. Season the marinade with cloves or cinnamon. Grill the pineapple just a few minutes per side or until you get some nice grill marks and it’s just tender.

When grilling fruit, choose fruits that are firm and not overly ripe and leave the skin on for most of them. If the fruit is too soft, there’s a chance pieces might fall apart and slip through the grill grates. Or it will simply become a pile of mush from the grill.

Try today’s recipe from our archives that pairs pork chops with grilled peaches topped with feta cheese.

Apple and Honey Marinated Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes (plus marinating)

For the marinade and chops:

  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 2 thick (about 1 1/4 inches) pork chops with bone, trimmed of visible fat

For the fruit:

  • 2 peaches or nectarines cut in half, pit removed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup feta, goat or blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon honey

In a glass measure, whisk together the apple juice, honey, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. Place the pork chops in a plastic sealable bag. Pour half of the marinade over the pork. Seal the bag and turn to coat the chops with the marinade. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Refrigerate the remaining marinade to baste the chops when grilling.

Prepare the grill or preheat it to medium-high heat. Oil the grates.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade (discard the marinade) and let sit at room temperature while the grill is heating.

Grill the pork chops about 5 minutes on one side or until well-seared with nice grill marks. Turn and sear on the other side, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low or move the chops to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Grill 10-15 minutes more depending on the thickness. Occasionally baste the chops with the remaining reserved marinade.

The internal temperature of the chops should be 145 to 150 degrees.

Meanwhile, brush the peaches all over with the 1 tablespoon canola oil. About 10 minutes before the chops are done, place the fruit, flesh side down, on the grill. Grill about 4 minutes or until they start to become tender and have nice grill marks. Turn and place 1 tablespoon feta cheese where the pit was. Close lid and grill another 3 minutes to soften the cheese.

Place a pork chop and 2 peach halves on each plate. Drizzle honey over the peaches and serve.

Makes 2 generous servings.

Nutrition information per serving (based on 3 ounces pork and 2 peach halves with 1 tablespoon feta cheese each): 396 calories (59 percent from fat), 20 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 31 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 497 mg sodium, 84 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber.

Test Kitchen is Tribune News Service column by Susan Selasky, the food writer and Test Kitchen director for the Detroit Free Press, where she develops and tests recipes and answers readers’ questions about all things food. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter @SusanMariecooks

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