Dust off the barbie and join me as we get down to the nitty gritty of summer-- Grilling!
Y'all. It's HOT out there. In my neck of the woods, it's typically still in the upper 90's late into the evening, and dinnertime can see some of the hottest temps of the day. Certainly, August is no time to heat things up in the kitchen. I step in there primarily to stick my head in the freezer. Maybe make coffee. Otherwise, the appliances are used less frequently than any other month.
The relative ease of pulling off the grill cover and lighting up, whether over coals or gas, makes grilling a natural method for bringing out the best of summer-season harvests, without heating up the house. This week on Notes From Maggie's Farm, we'll be grilling both fruits and vegetables.
Today, a simple dish that promises a lot of bang for your buck, prepared in scant minutes. My friends love these grilled peaches, and beg for repeat appearances. As a testament to our enthusiasm for them, notice that the finished dish photos on this occasion are none too artfully arranged. Our little crowd was too eager. Solo, I enjoy this as a full Meatless Monday meal on many summer nights, slicing the warm, juicy gems, nestled in a plateful of arugula, letting the chevre and pesto mingle with the sweet fruit nectar for a dressing whose vibrant flavor no bottle could contain.
1. Begin with a meticulously clean grill. Use that wire brush and a little elbow grease to eliminate any burnt on crud from marring your meal.
2. As a rule, let peel remain on fruit.
3. Lightly coat fruit with grapeseed oil, or any other oil that has a high smoke point, and neutral flavor.
4. Use slightly under-ripe fruit for best results
5. Cook fruits directly over moderately hot coals, rotating, turning, or moving them to cooler parts of the grill as necessary.
For more grilling tips, refer to this About.com Tips for Grilling Fruit video.
Ingredients and Assembly for 4 servings
8 grilled peach halves
8 teaspoons of soft chevre
about 1/4 cup prepared pesto
(Note: I purchase both pesto and the soft chevre from vendors at my local farmers market, when homemade is not practical. Monday evenings are especially not practical. However if you'd like to spend a bit more time, consider making your own pesto, and chevre.)
a handful or two of arugula lettuce, per salad plate (substitute any firm lettuce if you're not a fan)
Optional: a faint drizzle of pecan or walnut oil
cracked red or black pepper, to taste
Place warm grilled peaches atop bed of arugula, fill peach center with soft chevre, drizzle with pesto, and season with cracked red or freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.
I occasionally serve this with a homemade country pate made of chicken and rabbit. It's a chunky, rich combination of rabbit, duck and pork, and a little goes a long way towards satiety. I've also found a great source for pates and charcuterie from vendors Belle Vie Farm and Kitchen at my local farmers market.
If you're going meatless, on this Monday, you'll be leaving well-enough, alone.
TaDAAAH! You're done. Dig in, knowing that clean-up is a breeze. Now you can take a stroll when the sun goes down.
It should be a chilly 98 degrees by then.