Grilled pears are great alongside grilled pork or sausages; they're even better when served with ice cream, whipped cream, or frozen yogurt for dessert. The smokiness of the grill highlights pears' natural sweetness to fabulous effect. Any variety of pear works just fine on the grill, even notoriously juicy Bartletts.
Depending on how you're going to serve them, plan on cooking 1 pear per person, but half a pear can suffice, too, especially if you're going to serve them for dessert with ice cream after a big meal. This recipe easily increases or decreases depending on how many pears and people you have on hand.
- 4 pears (as mentioned above, any variety works!)
- 1 tablespoon light, neutral-flavored oil, such as canola oil or grapeseed oil, or melted butter (an especially good choice if you're serving them as dessert)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional, more useful for dessert)
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional, more useful for a side dish)
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium hot heat: You should be able to hold your hand about 1 inch above the cooking grate for 2 to 3 seconds before pulling it away from the intensity of the heat. As any time you're grilling, but especially with dishes that may not usually make an appearance on your grill, make sure the cooking grate is clean and well oiled before you get started.
- While the grill heats, halve the pears and scoop out their cores. You can peel the pears if you like, but it's not necessary.
- Put the pears on a tray or baking sheet. Brush them lightly all over with the oil or butter (you may not need all the oil called for).
- Put the pears, cut-side down, on the grill. Cover and cook until they're grill-marked, heated through, and tender, about 10 minutes. You can turn them to grill-mark them on the other side, if you like, or continue cooking them for even more tender fruit. If you want to use the brown sugar, sprinkle it on the pear after cooking one side, and let the sugar melt into the pears while the second side cooks. If serving the pears as a side dish, ditch the sugar and add some freshly ground black pepper instead.
Kick them up: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the pears while they cook. A dusting of ground cardamom or even garam masala, a warm spice mix, can also be a delicious addition.
Make them nutty: Top grilled pears with some chopped toasted walnuts or pecans.
Add some spice: Mix 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne into the oil or butter before brushing it on the pears. This is a great option when serving the pears as a side dish. Increases the heat based on the heat-loving palates at the table.