Every man hits the same inevitable plateau: You've got burgers and dogs down; you're rock solid searing a rib eye; and you're a backyard Da Vinci with that barbecue brush. But you're over that limited repertoire, and you're just not sure how to elevate your grilling beyond the obvious. Well, consider this: Every great American chef keeps a hot grill raging inside his restaurant kitchen and knows the unique effect direct flame can have on flavor. That's why we asked five of them to share their methods and recipes for cooking elevated versions of grilling favorites, including fish, chicken, pork, vegetables, and fruit. Launch Gallery >>
Stephen Collucci's Grilled Peaches
Sweet stuff loves the sear every bit as much as savory: Think of classic French crème brûlée and the secret blowtorch kept in every restaurant kitchen precisely to caramelize that sweet, crispy-brown crust. Stephen Collucci, head pastry chef for Tom Colicchio first at Craft, then at CraftSteak, and now at Colicchio & Sons, keeps his grilled dessert even simpler, highlighting the combination of hot fire and a little seasonal fruit. It's the kind of summer dessert you'll make over and over again, until it becomes a natural part of your repertoire.
•1 peach per person
• 2 cups white wine
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 sprigs mint (or chamomile) per person
• 1 vanilla bean per person
• 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream per person
• Fresh berries
The night before you're going to grill, set out your peaches. Use a clean vegetable peeler or sharp knife to skin them. Then cut in half and discard the pits.
To make a simple syrup, combine white wine, sugar, mint, and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar, remove from heat, and chill. (The chilling is critical: If you add raw peaches to hot liquid, they'll start cooking and get mushy before they ever reach the grill.)
Immerse the peaches in the chilled syrup overnight in the refrigerator. (You can do this step several days in advance.)
Set each peach half cut-side down onto a medium-hot grill, watch for flare-ups, and grill for about three minutes, or until the bottom is well seared and the top has begun to soften.
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Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.