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This summer, think outside the 'cue. Throw these surprising foods on the grill for remarkably easy, wholly unexpected, and thoroughly delicious appetizers, garnishes, and side dishes.
Halved and charred, cut side down, limes, lemons, grapefruits and oranges are a beautiful garnish for fish and chicken. The sugars caramelize and make a smoky-sweet sauce to squeeze over the food.
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Briefly grill small wheels of soft cheese (such as Brie) uncut, in their rind, until just melting. Haloumi or queso fresco cheese work as well. Serve with other cheeses and fruit as an appetizer or simple dessert course.
3. Root vegetables
Steam or parboil root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, or sweet potatoes until slightly tender. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and your choice of herbs. Grill over medium heat until charred.
Try this: Grilled Smashed Potatoes and Sunny Anderson's Grilled Accordion Potatoes with Sage (above)
Small clusters won't fall through the grate and will get even juicier and sweeter over the heat. Serve as a garnish with pork or sausage.
Try this: Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops
Toss lightly in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium-hot grill just to wilt. Add to: salads for smoky flavor and textural contrast.
Shrimp and lobsters are excellent grill foods — so too are clams and oysters. Place the freshest clams or oysters you can buy directly on the grill over high heat. Cover and cook until shellfish opens, 4 to 5 minutes. Eat straight from the grill with simply a squeeze of lemon and hot sauce.
Try this: Grill-Roasted Clam Linguine
A few seconds on a hot grill does wonders for watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and other melons. Not only do the grill marks look appetizing, they taste good too--the heat caramelizes the sugars of the fruit resulting in a mildly smokey and nutty flavor.