I am addicted to watermelon. Seriously addicted. It’s a joke at my house because I don’t slice the watermelon, I clean and cube the whole thing and put it in a bowl for ease of serving. Then I eat nearly the whole thing. My family tries to warn me what will happen, but I don’t listen. I can’t stop. I think it’s just that I love fruit. Fresh, chilled, wonderful fruit. Yesterday, it was peaches that had me in a tizzy!
California Girl Comments: She’s not lying. I once made an appetizer of goat’s cheese mousse on top of stamped watermelon flowers and I swear Ms. April ate the entire tray by herself. I seem to remember her squeezing out the goat’s cheese mousse from the pastry bag onto her finger so she could enjoy its yummy goodness. She’s a joy to watch cook, as she truly has a passion for all of the flavors that blend together to make an amazing dish. (P.S. Just in case you didn’t get the hint… fruit eaten in huge quantities has a laxative effect on the body, and Ms. April never learns her lesson!)
Near our home are peach orchards, and you can literally smell the fruit in the air when you pull in. There are so many dishes you can make with peaches, I could write a blog post a week for months on end to cover them all…but most are things you have probably already enjoyed. So today, I am going to share with you something super amazing that you will love! I wish I could say this was an original idea, but it is not. I had something similar somewhere…so I just threw this together myself from the flavors that are seared into my memory.
2 large, ripe (but not soft )freestone peaches. (This will make 16 portions.)
1/2 package of sliced bacon. (I used smoked bacon)
fresh basil leaves (16 large or 32 small)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP brown sugar
toothpicks (32 of them)
The first thing you are going to do is assemble your ingredients. You are going to want to grill these just before serving them, so it’s ok to assemble them and then cover with plastic wrap and chill until the time comes to grill and serve.
If you don’t have a basil plant in your garden or flower bed, buy some fresh at a farmers market or in the produce section. I didn’t like the way the basil looked at the market, so I just purchased a plant of it! They actually had these plants in the floral department of my supermarket! We have had a severe heat wave, so my own basil plants are looking a little sad. After I trimmed off the number of leaves I wanted, I simply planted it. Seriously, it was cheaper than buying cut basil at the market, and I ended up with a left over basil plant for the flower bed! Win-win for me!
Cut your bacon package in half, and have your bacon slices ready to go! You will use one half slice per slice of peach. One standard package of bacon will do 4 peaches.
Wash your peaches and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut in half and remove the stone. Then cut each half in half again, making quarters. Cut each of these in half again–ending up with 8 slices of peach. Do not peel them!
If your basil leave are large, place one large leave over the cut edges of your peach slice. If they are small, use a small leaf on each cut side of the peach slice.
Place one half slice of raw bacon on the cut side of a basil wrapped peach slice and secure with a toothpick. Wrap around the slice and secure on the opposite side. Be sure and place your toothpicks so they sort of “lie down” rather than sticking them straight in. You are going to grill them, so you don’t want the toothpicks preventing you from placing the bacon on the grill.
Once you have them all prepared, heat up your grill to medium heat and place all the slices on the grill. There is no need to grease the grill, as the bacon will do that for you. When the bacon is browned to your liking, turn the peach slice over and repeat. The next turn of the peach slice will be the side that has the skin, so you will grill all three sides! This will take 20-25 miinutes.
While the peaches are grilling, you are going to make your balsamic reduction. I have mentioned Lucero oils and vinegars in previous posts, and for this recipe I chose their wonderful Fig Balsamic Vinegar. It has a slightly sweeter taste than a regular balsamic, which was delicious with the salty hickory smoke of the bacon. Mix the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar together in a small pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer, while continuing to stir often. Reduce to half. Don’t get it too thick, because when it cools, you won’t be able to drizzle it over the peaches. Once it has reduced, remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the peach slices from the grill (you can grab them by the toothpicks) and place on a pretty plate. Gently remove the toothpicks. Drizzle the grilled peaches with your balsamic reduction and serve! Use a small spoon to drizzle, so you don’t get big “globs” of reduction on your beautifully grilled peaches.
You can serve these as an appetizer, or as a compliment to your meat dish. We served ours with grilled chicken, and they disappeared! I caught one of our guests actually scooping up the left over drizzle from the serving dish with a finger when they thought I wasn’t looking!
Peaches are gorgeous right now, and it’s the perfect time of year to try this fabulous recipe! I hope you enjoy it!
Have a fabulous week! ~Ms. April