In our house, we grill all year round, partly because it saves cleaning a nasty, baked-on dish but mostly because we love it. This summer I expanded my grilled meat repertoire by grilling many different veggies and finally, some fruit.
One of most most favorite desserts of all time was something I had about 15 years ago at Rigsby's in the Short North. It was half a peach, filled with chocolate mousse and sitting in a pool of fresh raspberry sauce. The memory still gives me shudders.
Local peaches have also always been one of my favorite fresh seasonal fruits, but the new millenium brings us fruits from all across the globe almost the entire year round. Most are picked early while still hard then "ripened" with a variety of chemical gassings and sprays. The result often looks great, but suffers from a lack of that juicy sugary goodness.
So when I decided to try grilling some fruit, I thought the often mealy peaches found at the Giant Beagle would be good grilling candidates. When shopping for appropriate peaches, pick four that seem a little too hard. Not rock-like, but rather one that gives just a bit with a gentle squeeze. Once home, wash them thoroughly with your favorite veggie cleaner, then let them stay at room temperature.
Before you begin preparing the rest of your items for the grill, start on the peaches so they can marinate a bit. Cut them in half and remove the stones and place in a shallow bowl.
As they sit there awaiting that long, final walk to your grill, mix up 5 tablespoons of melted butter, one tablespoon of light brown sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and then a quarter cup of your favorite cooking booze. My favorite for a light, tangy zing is sherry, but I often forget to stock it, so I have used tequila, cognac and even a tiny smidgen of scotch. Whatever you prefer is fine, as long as you go easy and don't use anything over the top. Rum should also be a good choice. Whisk these ingredients together thoroughly then pour over the peaches, with the open faces sitting up. After about 15 minutes (the booze forces the marinade to be drawn into the peach fairly fast), turn them over and give them another 15 minutes. Take the whole bowl out to the grill, along with a nice large set of restaurant tongs.
When everything else has been grilled and the meat is resting, give the grill a quick scrape then place the peaches open face down. Watch them closely: it should take less than 4 minutes, if your grill is hot enough, to get some nice grill marks on the peach flesh. Then flip them over and pour the marinade that remains in your bowl carefully into the open peach pit holes. Another 3 minutes should do it! Place them back in the bowl, cover loosely with foil and let sit on the counter while you enjoy your dinner. Then, after the dishes are done (trust me-you won't want to move after this awesome taste treat) place each peach in a small bowl and top with a heaping tablespoon of vanilla bean ice cream or cinnamon ice cream and serve.