Balsamic-Agave Grilled Nectarines with Sweet Creme Fraiche and Toasted Almonds
I have a secret. It’s just between you and me. OK. Here it goes.
I hate making dessert.
Maybe hate is a strong word. But, I seriously just don’t see the point in it. Though a chilled piece of fruit is like a lightening bolt to my heart, if I’m going to spend time in the kitchen, I want it to be on something hearty and nutritious (like Spicy Crispy Mac’n’Cheese…).
Unless there’s a special occasion, I rarely feel the need to make cake or pie or cupcakes or ice cream. On a hot day, I may get into a popsicle mood, but that’s about it.
But there’s an exception to every rule.
And sometimes you just need a treat. Sometimes you need to WOW someone with food. Sometimes you need Balsamic-Agave Grilled Nectarines with Sweet Creme Fraiche and Toasted Almonds.
I served this dish when I recently auditioned with Living Social to teach a vegan cooking class. They loved it. A lot. And so do I, which is saying something.
It helps that this is ridiculously simple to make and you could swap out the nectarines for all sorts of fruits – peaches, pears, apples, chilled berries, warmed cherries…
The sweet cream will make much more than you need for this dish, but it keeps well in the fridge and would be mouth-wateringly amazing over waffles, pancakes, French toast, pie, or as a fruit dip. It tastes best chilled, so if you serve it over something warm, be sure to eat it right away.
Prepare to lick your fingers. It is that good.
- SWEET CREAM
- – 1 cup coconut milk
- – 1 cup raw cashews
- – 1/2 cup water
- – 1 tsp vanilla
- – 2 Tbsp sugar in the raw
- – Pinch of salt
- FRUIT MARINADE
- – 1 1/2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
- – 2 tsp EVOO
- – 2 tsp agave nectar
- – 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- – 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- – Pinch of salt
- – 3 nectarines, cut into 6-8 pieces each, skin on
- – 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1. Blend all of the sweet cream ingredients together in a high speed blender* until smooth and creamy. Place in a covered bowl and let it thicken in the fridge for at least an hour, though two is preferable. (You can prepare this the night before, as well, which is my preference.)
- 2. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
- 3. Add the nectarine slices to the marinade and set aside, stirring occasionally.
- 4. Set your grill pan to medium-high (or start up your real grill outside). Brush the grill with a little oil, as the fruit has a tendency to stick.
- 5. Once the grill is hot, add the marinated nectarine slices, cut side down. Save the left over marinade.
- 6. After 1-2 minutes, gently flip the nectarines to the other side. Cook another 1-2 minutes.
- 7. Remove the nectarines from the grill.
- 8. To toast the almonds, toss them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown. Or, put them on a pan under the broiler for about 1 minute. They burn easily, so keep a close eye.
- 9. To serve, place a few nectarine slices in a bowl or on a plate. Drizzle liberally with the sweet cream. Add a small drizzle of the reserved marinade. Top with toasted almonds or your favorite granola.
- Nectarines have a nasty pit at their center, and sometimes twisting the two halves is impossible without destroying the fruit. I’ve found that if I cut one section away and then slowly work my way around, I can make decent slices while leaving the pit in the center of the fruit.
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- *Don’t forget – if you don’t have a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, just soak the cashews for a few hours. They will get soft enough for a standard blender or mini food processor to do the job.