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Grilled Peaches with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

August 27, 2007

peach composeePeaches have usually begun to dominate my kitchen by this time each year, and I feel this year has been particularly good.  Aside from one beautiful seeded and crimson red watermelon, the whole melon family has been a bit of a bust this year whereas peaches, in all their august fuzziness, have really come to the rescue.  One peach variety I had never seen until this year is the Goldline.  White fleshed with a splotch of yellow, I found them to be pretty good…but not quite O’Henry good.

O’Henry peaches make up the peach portion of the following recipe, and for some, they’re the fireweed of summer, the ninth inning for stone fruits…the end of the end.  Once O’Henry’s flood the markets, you can bet that Peach Season, at least in these parts, is coming to a close.  That may come as a sad fact to some, and indeed it is a sad fact, but we must soldier on.

What better way to celebrate both the close of a fantastic year for peaches and the onset of fall fruits, than with this parlor trick of a dish…Grilled Peaches with Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Inevitably, everywhere I bring a dish like this, there will be someone who has never had a grilled peach.  To them I say…Bravo, and welcome to the fairytale land called deliciousness. 

Now let’s have a go at it…

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You need the following:

A grill, pre-heated to med-high.  Charcoal is fine, though if you’re using charcoal, be sure the flames are on the down side of hot.  All those late summer sugars in the fruit will burn on you in an instant if it gets too hot.

2 small containers fresh mozzarella (preferably bocconcinis because they’re so cute and don’t need slicing)..should be about 2 cups drained of little mozz balls.  Here in the Bay Area I use BelFiore.  Try it if they’re available near you…they’re PHENOMENAL. 

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.

About 9-10 peaches. I used Frog Hollow’s O’Henrys…they’re the late season varietal I was raving about above…but you should use whatever’s fresh and local.

15-20 leaves of fresh basil, finely sliced into a nice chiffonade. A few more leaves reserved for (gasp!) garnishing the finished dish.

Mix the little drained bocconcinis with the sliced tomatoes and the basil chiffonade and season generously with kosher salt and black pepper and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

Slice the peaches in half (vertically, not horizontally) and remove the pits. Brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil and season generously with salt and black pepper.

Wipe your preheated grill with an oil dampened towel immediately before setting the peaches on it cut-side down, as it will help prevent stickage. Cook the peaches with the cover closed for about 3-4 minutes, turn them once 45º to get beautiful hatch marks, cook for another 3-4 minutes (cover closed) and then turn them over onto the round side for a final 2-3 minutes with the cover closed. Remove from grill and let cool lined up on a sheet tray at room temperature.
peach grilleeThey should have been cooked just-through yet not falling apart. Juice should have begun to bubble up a bit out from the cut sides. If you cook too far they’ll be overly tender, cook not enough and they won’t taste like a cooked peach.  If you have a small meat fork or larding needle, it should pierce the peach with little to no resistance.  Test one and see where they’re at if need be.

Meanwhile, pour your tomato/cheese melange onto a nice platter and spread out evenly. On top of that, arrange your peaches in an nice, attractive manner and garnish with the reserved basil leaves.

The vinaigrette is simply 2 large Tablespoons of honey, warmed slightly, combined with 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Combine those ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake aggressively.

You can refrigerate the whole platter if it’s not going to be consumed within 2 hours, though you should remove it from the fridge a full 45 minutes prior to eating and allow it to come to room temperature. Serve the vinaigrette on the side.

Let me know how it turns out…
peach finis

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. megan permalink
    June 26, 2008 11:57 am

    Is this close??? but dont grill the peaches???

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  1. Tomato & Melon « agoodfoodblog

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