Grilled Nectarines with Honey, Almonds & Orange Blossom Ricotta

Our fruit bowl lives on the counter right at the entrance to the kitchen, just underneath the knives and the light switch. Each time that I walk in, the sweet scent of ripening summer fruit hits me and makes me weak in the knees. Right now there are peaches, nectarines, plums, and avocados all nestled together getting sweeter and softer in the warmth of late-June afternoons.

I usually don't eat the fruit. The sugar, natural though it is, hits me hard and makes me sleepy within the hour. I love it, but since I have to be picky about it, I admit that I prefer my sugar as cake or bread or ice cream. The fruit I leave for Eugene who would eat it all day long if he could.

But yesterday the scent was too strong. I want this, I thought, but it has to be worth it.

So I made it worth it.

I split the nectarine--a ripe, white one--and grilled it on a coconut oil-brushed grill pan, letting the heat char and caramelize the outside of the fruit while the inside softened into something hot and jammy.

While the fruit cooked, I whipped up some good ricotta (a homemade goat version, though any "fancy" kind will work) with a bit of heavy cream and a splash of orange blossom water. This went in the bowl first topped with the grilled nectarine, some mint and almonds and dried pomegranate. A drizzle of honey. A sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

The flavors came together for a dessert that tasted ambrosial, almost Middle Eastern.

It was worth it.


Grilled Nectarines with Honey, Almonds & Orange Blossom Ricotta
Serves 2, multiply as needed

Ingredients
2 ripe nectarines, cut into quarters, pits removed.
Coconut oil
1 cup homemade-style ricotta (the thick dryer kind you buy in a deli or cheese counter, not from the containers in the dairy case)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon honey, plus more for drizzling

Garnishes: 1/4 cup toasted almonds, fresh mint leaves, dried pomegranate seeds, flaky sea salt, black pepper, fresh lemon zest

Directions
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with coconut oil. Arrange nectarine quarters on pan and let grill 1-3 minutes per side until slightly charred and heated through.

While the nectarines grill, whisk together ricotta, cream, orange blossom water almond, and 1 teaspoon honey until smooth. Spread in the bottom of a bowl or serving platter and top with grilled nectarines.

Drizzle with more honey and sprinkle with garnishes. Serve immediately.

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