An easy guide to serving fruits of passion
This recipe comes to us from The Oaks at Ojai spa in Ojai, California. The Oaks is noted for incorporating healthy, local, seasonal ingredients into its menus. Here their health-conscious culinary team take the essence of summer and transform it into a succulent dessert. They do it not with the addition of extra ingredients but through the magic of grilling. Grilled summer fruit is one of our favorite joys of the year’s hottest months. We love how the simple act of grilling pulls out the fleshy succulence and an almost creamy quality from stone fruits. Here, The Oaks chef explains the technique in such a way that will have even the most inexperienced home cook serving up platters of sensual, grilled fruits worthy of a night of passion.
Although this makes the perfect happy ending to a meal, at the Oaks it is also used as an accompaniment to grilled fish and chicken dishes. And on days when a more decadent dessert is called for, they fill the center of the fruits with sorbet or ice cream instead of cheese.
- 2-3 lbs slightly underripe yellow or white peaches nectarines or apricots*
- olive oil or your favorite nut oil such as walnut or almond oil, for brushing
- balsamic vinegar for brushing
- 2 oz chevre or blue cheese
- 1 tbsp roasted walnut slivers or sunflower seeds for garnish optional
- Cut each fruit in half; brush each surface with olive oil (using a little nut oil such as walnut oil gives it even more complexity of flavors). Then brush with a little balsamic vinegar.
- Place cut side down on a heated grill or barbeque. You can broil these as well, but then you have to have your oven on when it’s already hot everywhere!
- Grill for 2 minutes before turning. When you turn the fruit over, place a leaf of mint or basil or rosemary in the hollow of the fruit. Grill for an additional 1-2 minutes
- Remove from grill—place a dollop of goat cheese, bleu cheese or feta in the hollow as well. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds or sunflower seeds.
If you wish to pipe a filling into the fruit for a more finished look, consider mixing ¼ cup low fat cream cheese with one of the above, adding chopped herbs and putting the mixture in pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. You can then dust with nuts. It goes without saying that this grilled fruit, done simply with olive oil and mint makes a wonderful receptacle for a sorbet or ice cream finish to a meal. Mixing one tablespoon of maple syrup to ¼ c. olive oil is especially tasty to brush the fruit with if you are using for dessert. *This particular treatment of fruit is best done with slightly under ripe or barely ripe fruit. Cut each fruit in half; brush each surface with olive oil (using a little nut oil such as walnut oil gives it even more complexity of flavors) and a little balsamic vinegar.
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