The gas grill has gotten a workout this summer. Grilled salmon, pork, chicken, Italian turkey sausages, ribs, plus pounds and pounds of summer squash have all been grilled by Sweetie. He presents quite a picture sitting by the grill with Merlin the cat on his lap, smoke swirling up from the grill, and a good book drawing his attention away from the food...but never for too long.
One day he came in while the pork roast was still cooking away and held out a tray of bannana halves that he has cooked on the grill. They were warm and sort of gooey in a good way, like caramel but a little firmer. The flavor was smoky and sweet and very tropical.
When Jeanne of Cooksister announced that this month's Waiter event was "Waiter, there's something in my... meatless barbecue", the grilled bananas immediately came to mind. Should I make grilled bannana financiers? Grilled bannana bread? Grilled bannana and peanut butter sandwich? A tart with grilled bannanas and mango curd? Too many possibilities.
Then decision was easy once we purchased some fresh pineapple. Grilled bannanas and grilled pineapple spears would go perfectly with some coconut pineapple ice cream garnished with a little toasted coconut. Tropical grillin' at it's best. The hot bannanas and pineapple contrasted nicely with the cold sweet ice cream and slight crunch of the toasted coconut. The great thing about this recipe is that it will work anytime you have ripe bannanas and some good fresh pineapple and the weather is OK for grilling. You could also grill other kinds of fruit to add to the fun.
A mention should be made about the ice cream. I used some store bought pineapple coconut light ice cream and it was very good. The part that I didn't anticipate is that the hot fruit melted quite a lot of the ice cream. If I did this again, I would make scoops of the ice cream and then freeze the scoops on a try in the freezer until they were very solid. That way the ice cream would start out hard and the hot fruit would soften it nicely instead of melting it into pools. Live and learn. I wrote the recipe with the addition of freezing the ice cream balls.
Tropical Grilled Fruit over Ice Cream with Coconut
1 pint HaagenDaz Rich and Light Pineapple and Coconut ice cream (or a flavor of your choice)
3 medium bannanas, sliced lengthwise, skins left on
1 tsp. light olive oil or salad oil
3 spears fresh pineapple
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Scoop the ice cream into balls. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Leave in freezer until after fruit has been grilled.
Lightly brush the cut side of the bannanas with the oil. Place the bannanas and pineapple on a tray.
In a small cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, toast the coconut, stirring often, until most of the coconut is lightly toasted. Set aside.
Over medium heat, grill the bannanas, cut side down first, and the pineapple spears, turning once as soon as the first side carmelizes where it touches the grill, about 4-5 minutes. Continue grilling on the second side until the bannanas are softened and the pineapple carmelizes where it touches the grill. The bannana skins will hold the softened bannanas like little boats. Return to the tray and cut the pineapple into chunks.
Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer and place two or three in a bowl. Place pieces of the grilled bannana and chunks of the grilled pineapple in the bowls and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Serve at once. Serves 3 or 4.