Fruit deserves to have a place outside of dessert. Dessert is often shunned for fear of ingesting too many sugar-filled calories and myriad other reasons, and sadly fruit often also becomes under appreciated, associated only with a guilty, and even naughty indulgence – how often do we think of certain fruits only with pies, tartes, scones, cakes and the like? Such a view not only limits our appreciation for fruit, but I think also forces upon us a paradigm that fruit should be “improved upon” by making it even sweeter than it already is. Maybe for some acidic fruits like certain berries or citrus this is true, but many are already pleasurably sweet and unfortunately get overlooked as a valid component in other parts of a meal.
What if fruit were the star of other dishes too? Maybe a first course, served with meat, etc? Some of my favorite dishes involve fruits, and it’s not just for the sweetness – many fruits pair really well with savory items and I think provide a balance to other strong elements. One of my most frequented pairings this Summer has been to add herbs and the tang of locally made goat cheeses to baked or roasted seasonal fruits – the markets are just brimming with succulent produce, and every two weeks it seems becomes a new mad rush to enjoy in as many ways as possible first the strawberries, then cherries, then apricots & peaches, and soon the plums and other berries will arrive en masse
And you know what? Sometimes I think the taste of fresh fruit is even more enjoyable when it is not a part of le dessert
Of course I am still very much in the midst of my apricot love affair, I think because it’s still such a novelty for me to eat ripe fresh apricots. And you know I’m all for simple in the Summertime, so lately my favorite snack/lunch/first course has been to bake or pan-grill fruit (these were grilled in a pan with some butter) along with melty goat cheese (I’ve found that goat cheese loves to be matched with sweet as well). It’s easy, takes just a few minutes, doesn’t heat up the kitchen too much, and is a rather satisfying way to enjoy fruit without the cakes and tarts, and a way to enjoy goat cheese without the salads
This post is also gladly part of this month’s Monthly Mingle hosted by Sukaina of Sips and Spoonfuls – theme Stone Fruit! And part of Barbara’s goaterie challenge! I haven’t been able to find goat meat to try, but have been enjoying goat cheese in dishes similar to this nearly every day – maybe it’s the Summer, but I for some reason goat cheese seems less heavy than cheese made from cow’s milk, and so I think I’ve just been drawn to it more during these warmer months….
Have you tried a new food pairing lately? What’s your favorite Summer combo?
Prep time : 5 minutes to slice and pit apricots
Total Time: 20 minutes
2 tbs. butter
3 or 4 apricots, halved and pitted
a couple rounds of goat cheese
fresh mint, basil
salt if desired
1. Melt butter in a grill pan on medium high heat. Add apricots cut side down and cook for about 7 minutes or until the undersides really soften.
2. Flip and cook about 7 minutes more, the last too minutes add a slice of goat cheese on top and cover so that the goat cheese has enough heat to melt.
3. Serve with mint and basil and salt if desired.