I’ve been meaning to rework some of my older recipes that are in need of a facelift – this was one of them. If it’s true that you “eat with your eyes first,” then some fresh photos were warranted. For this recipe I also reworked the directions to include a few more details, and I ended up swapping out the pistachios for hazelnuts (personal preference, you could certainly still use pistachios). This is an easy and summery appetizer, one that you could eat casually on a Wednesday or bring to a socially distanced dinner party. It can also be prepped in advance, with only a couple minutes of assembly required when you are ready to eat. And since it’s hot in Seattle right now and most of us don’t have AC, this helps me accomplish my noteworthy goal of sitting on my patio in the shade and eating my weight in fresh peaches and burrata. COVID can’t steal that from me.
GRILLED PEACHES AND BURRATA WITH BALSAMIC-HONEY SYRUP AND TOASTED HAZELNUTS
serves 2-4 as an appetizer, can easily be scaled up to accommodate more servings
1/4 cup hazelnuts, untoasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 ripe peach, quartered and pit discarded
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
4 oz burrata cheese
crackers for serving, or toasted bread
Note: you can prep the hazelnuts, peaches, and balsamic-honey syrup in advance and assemble the appetizer when ready to eat
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 minutes. While they are toasting, lay out a clean kitchen towel. When the hazelnuts are toasted, immediately dump them onto the center of the towel and completely wrap the hazelnuts in the towel. Let them sit for a minute or two, then press on the hazelnuts and roll them around in the towel- this will loosen and remove a majority of the skins (it’s ok if you don’t completely remove all the skins). Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside. If not using right away, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Heat the balsamic vinegar in your smallest pot until simmering. Hold at a low simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced in volume by about half. Remove from heat and whisk in the honey. Set aside and let cool; it will thicken to the consistency of a syrup. If not using right away, store the syrup in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Prep your grill by spraying with non-stick oil or brushing the grill with oil. Heat BBQ to high heat (450/500 degrees F). Mix brown sugar with brandy in a small dish and brush onto the “fleshy” sides of the peach quarters. Grill on each fleshy side for 1-2 minutes per side, until the peaches have grill marks and soften. Remove from the grill and when cool enough to handle, cut each peach quarter in half lengthwise. Keep peaches at room temperature until ready to eat, or, if you are prepping a day in advance, in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. If you store them in the fridge, bring peaches back to room temperature before serving.
- When ready to eat, place the burrata on a serving platter and arrange the grilled peach slices around it. Drizzle everything with the balsamic-honey syrup and sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.