Grilled-Pineapple (1)

Surprise! These 5 foods are great on the grill

PHOTO: Grilled pineapple is a simple and oh-so-satisfying taste treat.  | COURTESY FRESH MARKET

Once the warm (OK, if you’re in Chicago, just slightly warmer) weather hit, you’ve been grilling regularly.

And while it’s been fun and tasty, it’s time to mix it up.

Peter Mayes, the “grilling master” for Fresh Markets (the national chain has stores in suburban Chicago), is offering up new ideas for grilling. They include:

Meatballs: Season ground meat (chicken, pork, beef) and roll into 2-inch balls. Put them on the grill, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Keep rolling them onto each of the sides for about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Pineapple: Cut into spears. Dip first into coconut milk then a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (Fresh Markets has a vanilla sugar/cinnamon mix in a grinder that the store recommends. If you’re making your own, use ½ cup sugar and combine with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon). Top with chopped fresh mint.

Tofu: Cut into halves. Marinate in a sauce (Fresh Market’s suggests its Mango Coconut sauce, and here’s a recipe for a similar one) in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Grill tofu for 5 to 10 minutes or until browned on each side. If you want to really capture the flavor of the marinade, Mayes recommends you continue to brush the sauce on either side while continuing to flip it.

Peaches: They’re showing up in stores and farmers markets right now, and while they taste great out of hand, they’re a natural for the grill as well. Cut them in half and swipe with melted butter. Put on the grill cut-side down for four minutes, then flip them for another four minutes. (My personal “research” has determined that if you slice them and serve them atop vanilla ice cream you won’t be disappointed.)

Ciabatta: Slice a loaf in halves horizontally. Drizzle each slice with olive oil and freshly chopped garlic, then grill for about three minutes on both sides. Mayes suggests topping with a sprinkle of salt, Parmesan and chopped basil for a grilled style of bruschetta.