Last week, I had a truly great extended birthday celebration. Dinner with my family at the wonderful Chez Billy Sud, an adventure to Ohio to celebrate the wedding of our nephew, and a gathering of girlfriends who toasted another year with nibbles and pomegranate cosmos and orange chiffon cake. Many reminders of how blessed I am.
As a first-class food geek, let me share with you that one of my favorite gifts was a Le Creuset grill pan. This may seem like an odd choice for the middle of the summer, but let me explain. In my romantic vision of the world, I’d grill every meal on the back patio during the summer months while sipping a frosty beverage. But the reality is a bit different in the DC area. To be honest, evenings mid-summer we’re facing either withering heat or drenching thunderstorms. I’m not the sort of person who grills in the rain under an umbrella. Nor when the heat index is 110 degrees. I’m a weather wimp. So the marinated meat or veggie items find themselves in the oven. Which seems so wrong.
But no more. I’ve been grilling things in my kitchen all week long – even as I watch the rain fall outside my window. See why the grill pan makes perfect sense? Let me share with you my favorite grilled item so far – these magical crostinis. Inspired by a starter we ordered at the Soho House Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been tinkering with this recipe all week. I’ve decided burrata, a cream-filled version of mozzarella, is my new favorite cheese (apologies to dear manchego). Paired with slightly charred and smoky in-season peaches, lightly grilled toasts brushed with olive oil, and drizzled with a bit of honey-sweetened balsamic vinegar – wow. Let me tell you, it’s a fantastic way to start a summer meal. Come to think if it, this combination is so amazing, it could easily be the entire meal.
Now I’m off to work out what else I can grill in my kitchen… it’s pouring again.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 burrata balls
- 4 ripe peaches, pittend and sliced
- 1 loaf good quality sourdough baguette, sliced into ½ inch slices
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Make the Balsamic Reduction:
- Stir balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to ⅓ cup, about 10 minutes. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool.
- Grill the Crostini and the Peaches:
- Preheat grill pan to medium-high.
- Brush the baguette slices with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill baguette for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and set aside.
- Lightly brush the peach slices with olive oil
- Grill the peach slices for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until peaches have softened, but aren’t mushy. Remove from grill and set aside.
- To assemble:
- Place a tablespoon or two of burrata on each toast, then top with two or three grilled peach slices. drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.
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