There's something about food on a stick that says summer.
Think s'mores, cotton candy, corn dogs, caramel apples, Popsicles. If these don't make your mouth water, try a deep-fried Snickers bar on a stick. I've read that this treat -- or should I call it a heart-attack-on-a-stick? -- is a favorite at state fairs throughout the nation.
Which brings me to my version of summer fare: fruit on a stick. It's a lot easier than deep-frying a candy bar, and healthier, too.
I picked this recipe because of the picture of the dish on the Food Network's Web site. I know, I'm always talking about getting sucked in by food photos, but this one really was mouthwatering. The nectarines were perfectly caramelized. Juice dripped off the plums. I wanted to reach into my screen and take a bite. Many bites.
Another thing I liked about this recipe: It's only one paragraph long.
My husband bought the fruit. He picked white peaches instead of nectarines, and I'm glad he did. They're sweet on their own, but grilled with sugar on top? Heavenly.
Skewering the fruit was more difficult than I imagined. By the time I got around to making the recipe, the plums were soft. After I took the pits out and got them on the skewers, they were barely hanging on by their skins.
Grilling was an adventure. It took some maneuvering to get the peach and plum halves all face-down on the hot grill at the same time. Next time, I'll use tongs.
Removing them from the grill was no picnic. Most of the plum halves fell off, so by the time the skewers got to the table, they didn't look nearly as pretty as the picture.
But they tasted like summer. The caramelized sugar gave the fruit extra sweetness, without being too cloying. The plums and the peaches melted in our mouths.
If I make this recipe again, I'll skip the skewers. Couldn't you just put the fruit, cut side down, on the grill without them?
Then again, there's something about food on a stick.
Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at 578-2358 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the testers had to say
This suggestion is a good one. The only improvement I can offer is to serve the warm fruit with vanilla-caramel ice cream and a healthy splash of liqueur ... a delightful taste of summer.
I felt the fruit was weirdly soft where it touched the grill and firm near the skin; I don't like soft fruit. On the other hand, my husband enjoyed it and didn't mind the texture. We had it with ice cream, and that was the best part.
The nectarines and peaches were too firm and the plums perfect; cooking softens even the firmest fruit, so the firms ones were perfect, and the plums turned to mush. I would definitely not overcook them. The flavors of the peaches and nectarines were wonderful ... very sweet and fresh tasting. I wasn't quite sure if this fruit was meant to accompany an entree or to be eaten as dessert. Although we barbecued them with our steaks and other veggies, I could see cooking them while eating dinner and then putting vanilla ice cream on them while they're still warm, sprinkling some cinnamon and crumbled shortbread cookies on top ... kind of like an easy, no-bake cobbler. Mmm, yummy.
I used white nectarines. They were so sweet on their own, additional sugar wasn't necessary. We probably should have left the fruit on the grill longer than five minutes to achieve a bit more of a crisp texture. The end result was some warm fruit that could have been served as a dessert because it was so sweet. We probably won't go to the trouble of skewering again.
Yum! The fruit was quite sweet and tasted just like a fruit pie without the crust; it was more of a dessert than a side dish. I used white peaches and nectarines. It is a great recipe for those days when you don't want to heat up the kitchen and enjoy involving budding chefs, as it is very easy to prepare and cook. Be careful if using cling-pitted fruit, as the pieces may not look as presentable when carving out the pit is required during preparation.