Everyone always boasts about grilled peaches, but peaches shouldn’t be the only stone fruit to enter the grilling department. Plums, nectarines, apricots, even cherries gain a smokey sweetness when grilled enhancing the flavor and helping it marry with other flavors, like sweet honey, fresh herbs, cheese and even flavored vinegars. This one combines nectarines that are just shy of being fully ripe with fresh goat cheese, a touch of honey, chopped mint and thyme, a crack of fresh black pepper and a drizzle of reduced balsamic with apple. Simple, yet sophisticated, and delicious served as a starter with a Champagne and St. Germain cocktail or as a dessert with a bottle of Italian Moscato.
Grilled Nectarines with Balsamic and Honey
4 nectarines, just under-ripe, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
Reduced balsamic vinegar, we used one infused with apple
Fresh berries for garnish, if desired
Add the nectarines to a bowl with the Cointreau and a touch of olive oil about 30 minutes prior to grilling. Rub a bit of olive oil on the grill and heat it to medium-low. Grill the nectarines until nice grill marks appear on all sides, and the flesh of the fruit is slightly squishy. Remove from the heat and place the nectarines on a platter. Season with a few twists of freshly ground pepper and top each slice with a spoonful of goat cheese. Drizzle lightly with honey and scatter the herbs across the plate. Just before serving drizzle the balsamic across each nectarine. Garnish with a few fresh blueberries or blackberries, if desired. Serve warm or room temperature.