Friday, July 18, 2014

Caramelized-In-Bacon-Fat Peaches with Bleu Cheese, Serrano Ham, White Balsamic Reduction Drizzle, + Fresh Herbs

Caramelized-In-Bacon-Fat Peaches with Bleu Cheese, Serrano Ham,
White Balsamic Reduction Drizzle, + Fresh Herbs
It's peach season, y'all! And thank gawd for that. Ripe peaches are practically religion down in the southeast. We use them for just about anything... cobblers, salads, on crostini, flavored lemonade, infused sweet tea, as toppings on pizza, and even in a savory capacity, like these caramelized peaches. It is the perfect side dish during the summer. What makes this recipe so mouth-watering? Well, let's just start from the beginning... they are caramelized in bacon fat (another southern staple), and then finished in the oven where they are caramelized with sugar and scented with fresh rosemary. After they achieve the dark, caramel-y color that you desire, you take them out of the oven and start assembling these sort-of-kinda "peach salads". Drizzle the tops of the caramelized peaches with some of the sweet + sticky + tangy white balsamic reduction. Now onto the matter of the bleu cheese... any kind will really do, but I especially like a soft, silky bleu cheese that will soften some while they sit on top of the warm peaches. Don't like bleu cheese, that's fine too! I'm sure that a creamy goat cheese would be a lovely compliment to the other ingredients! So spoon that sticky, yet delicious cheese into the center of the fruit and pile on a heap of shaved serrano ham. If you can't find serrano, prosciutto or country ham would work just fine as well! I love to finish these bad boys off with a little bit of fresh basil + minced chives because it gives the dish some herby elements that counteract all the sweetness and savoriness that is going on in the dish. We served our peaches with a pepper jelly glazed, BBQ rubbed, grilled pork tenderloin (I will post the recipe for that soon), and it was the perfect compliment to the hearty meat. I think this would absolute perfection for a dinner party with friends or just to whip up on a sunny weekday!! Enjoy :)

For the White Balsamic Reduction:
¼C White Balsamic Vinegar
1T Honey

For the Caramelized Peaches:
2T Rendered Bacon Fat
4 Large, Semi-Ripe Peaches (cut in half + remove the pit)
1T Granulated Sugar + 1T Light Brown Sugar
¼t Smoked Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary

For Topping the Peaches:
1t of Bleu Cheese (per peach half… we had about 8 halves)
Shaved Serrano Ham (country ham or prosciutto may be substituted)
Fresh Basil + Chives, Minced
Red Pepper Flakes, For Garnishing

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together the sugars.
2. For the White Balsamic Reduction: Add the white balsamic vinegar and honey to a small saucepan and cook to reduce for 5-10 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Set this aside until ready to use.
3. For the Caramelized Peaches: Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the rendered bacon fat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the cut-side up of peaches with half of the sugar mixture, the salt and the pepper. Place them cut-side done in the skillet, tucking the rosemary in between. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cut sides are caramelized and golden. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on the un-cut side of the peaches. Drizzle a bit of bacon grease (1-2 teaspoons) over the peaches, then place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the peaches so they are cut-side up. Roast for another 5-10 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, discarding the rosemary.
4. Assembling the Peaches: Place the caramelized peach halves onto a plate and put a piece of blue cheese into the center, followed by a drizzle of white balsamic reduction and a mound of shaved serrano. Garnish the top with fresh basil and chives, along with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and some more balsamic reduction. Enjoy with a glass of white wine.

inspired by: sugar roasted peaches

No comments:

Post a Comment