My book, SOUPS & SIDES FOR EVERY SEASON, has a chapter with easy and quick dessert recipes and one of my favorites is Grilled Peaches or Figs with Cheese, Honey, Thyme, and Black Pepper. It’s on the blog, too. While figs aren’t often available in Colorado–more’s the pity– our Palisades peaches are plentiful, juicy western slope wonders. (Scroll down for more info about our peaches and see about attending the upcoming Peach festival. I’ll stay up here where it’s just a bit cooler, heat wuss that I am. In fact, I’m heading to Santa Fe where it’s both higher AND cooler. But you go on west.)
One day last week even our famous Colorado peaches weren’t terribly pretty–just temporarily, you see; the melon, however, was drop dead gorgeous. And if our peaches aren’t your favorite fruit, our Rocky Ford melons might be. I brought one home, scrubbed it up really well, and cut into it. We couldn’t eat it all for breakfast with yogurt and granola or for snacks, so, gee, I had to make dessert out of it as well. I took a page out of my own book, used melon instead peach, turned the original recipe a bit Maineish with the blueberries and maple syrup, and now can’t wait to make it again.
If it’s hot at your house and you’re grilling dinner, why not continue to grill for dessert? You needn’t even spell cantaloupe correctly, but it might help. I ended by looking it up to be sure.
GRILLED CANTALOUPE WITH GOAT CHEESE, MAPLE SYRUP, BLUEBERRIES, AND TOASTED ALMONDS
serves 4 very generously
- 1 small, ripe cantaloupe, scrubbed well*, cut in half, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch slices (Rocky Ford melon if you can get one)
- Olive oil
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I like Haystack Mountain Boulder Chèvre.)
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Fresh herbs for garnish
Heat grill to high, brush cantaloupe slices with oil, and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, turning after deep, dark grill marks appear. Divide cantaloupe between serving bowls and drizzle with maple syrup. Sprinkle each serving with a few almonds and a tiny bit of pepper. Add 1/4 cup blueberries to each bowl and garnish with herbs. I used chives as I had them, but you might like basil or thyme better.
*Store cut cantaloupe in a refrigerator with a temperature under 40 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.
Melon safety tips from the CDC:
Safety tips for eating melons
Get specific safety information about the Listeria outbreak in cantaloupes here.
FOLLOW THIS GENERAL FDA ADVICE FOR MELON SAFETY:
- Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew.
- Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Be sure that your scrub brush is sanitized after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.
- Promptly consume cut melon or refrigerate promptly. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days.
- Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
WINE: I’d drink a little Moscato d’Asti if I were looking in the sweet direction. If not, a prosecco or cava would be lovely on the porch with this dessert. Best glasses, please, just to show off your dessert!
Sing a new song; grill some cantaloupe,
About those peaches!
It’s a hot part of the west this time of year out at the place where Colorado meets Utah, but if you’re up for it, you might want to visit for the yearly Peach Festival next week and see what the excitement is all about…and eat some peaches while you’re there. Bring home a few more.
One of the most popular events is the Feast in the Field Dinners. Local chefs create five-course, farm-to-table meals celebrating Palisade’s delicious peaches and pair courses with locally grown wines. The finishing touch is that the meals are hosted out in orchards for an added layer of ambiance. For 2015, there are two opportunities — on Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16 — with food prepared by Chef David Fitzpatrick of Berna B’s and with different local winery pairings each night. Tickets are $105/person for the Feast in the Fields Dinners and are available on eventbrite.com or by calling the Palisade Chamber of Commerce at 970-464-7458.
For more information about the Palisade Peach Festival, visit www.palisadepeachfest.com