Heat, smoke, and a hint of salt make this sweet fruit unexpectedly savory, even meaty. Grilling âsobers it up and makes it lose its sloppy sweetness,â writes Mark Bittman
in the New York Times; he brushes 1-inch-thick slices with olive oil, minced onion, salt, and pepper, then grills them for about 5 minutes per side until caramelized and beginning to dry out. Serve as a side, or top
Bittman-style: with melted cheese and a bun for a âwatermelon burger.â
2. Romaine lettuce
The greens take the heat surprisingly wellâand grilling them creates a smoky flavor thatâs perfect for a substantial salad, like this one from Food Networkâs Alton Brown: Slice two heads of romaine lengthwise, then brush cut sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the lettuce halves cut-side down on a grill;
cook over medium-high heat for
1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and red wine vinegar. Place each half on a plate.
No bread required! Placing cheese directly on the grill boosts richness and creates chewy texture. For perfect char marks, without melting and creating a mess, use thick slices like halloumi or aged provolone, says finecooking.com. Drizzle the cheese with olive oil, then grill over medium-high heat,
until grill marks form (4 minutes per
side for halloumi,
1 minute per side
for provolone). Serve with bread, grapes, and preserves.
Grilling gives cake a warm interior and caramelized crustâand the
inherent sweetness balances out the smoky flavors. Cut an angel food or a pound cake into 1-inch-thick slices. Butter both sides, then grill over moderate heat until golden, turning once, about 2 minutes per side, says Food and Wine. Top with fruit, ice cream, or chocolate sauce.
Content continues below ad
5. Sweet Potatoes
Barbecue evangelist Steven Raichlen, author of Best Ribs Ever (Workman, $13.95), gives the orange tubers a treatment he calls smoke-roastâcombining the two cooking techniques for a creamy, honeyed potato thatâs not overly sugary.
He recommends coating whole sweet potatoes with butter and
placing over medium-high heat until the skins are browned and the flesh tender, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove, slice lengthwise, and top with butter and brown sugar.
Skewer chunks of thick-cut bacon on wooden or metal sticks, and grill over indirect heat, says Fine Cooking. Toss into salads, serve atop burgers, or add grilled pineapple and eat straight-up as an appetizer.
Iron Chef Cat Cora gently grills avocado halves, then scoops the flesh into guacamole that's extra smoky and savory.