Monday, June 28

Grilled Apricot, Mascarpone, and Prosciutto Toasts Prove That Apricots Are Worth the Wait

fresh apricots from the Hillcrest San Diego farmers' market

I have waited patiently. The first batch was too tart. The second batch was too mealy. The third batch was just right. That's the thing with fresh apricots. They're impossibly fussy fruits.

According to Western Farm Press, this is a tough year for California apricots: our unusually chilly spring delayed apricot maturity. On the upside, apricots are expected to be larger due to the late harvest. Larger is fine, but let's hope that they're sweeter too.

Like cherries, apricot season is short, typically 4-5 weeks sometime during May-August. Skip a couple of weeks at the farmers' market, and poof! they're gone. So as soon as you spy some, buy some.

Here are some tips on how to select and store fresh apricots:

Look for firm, though not hard, fruits with soft, smooth skin. Choose richly colored fruits -- apricots range from pale yellow to darker orange-yellow, and some sport an attractive reddish blush. Avoid apricots that have a greenish hue as they will not ripen. Tiny brown freckles are OK, but skip fruit that has knicks or bruises. And don't forget to take a whiff. Fully ripened apricots will emit a delicate, floral scent.

Fresh apricots are highly perishable. They can be stored unwashed on the counter-top for one to two days. After that, they should be refrigerated. Apricots are too delicate to be placed in the fruit bin with other fruits; instead, store them separately in a covered bowl or plastic container. Allow fruit to come to room temperature before eating.

Like peaches, apricots are highly versatile. They're sensational eaten simply out-of-hand and tossed raw in yogurt, parfaits, and salads. They make delicious savory salsas and chutneys and are a sweet addition to baked goods such as cakes and muffins. Firmer apricots are wonderful grilled, roasted, or poached and served with ice cream, freshly whipped cream, or ricotta cheese. Softer ones can be transformed into jams, jellies, and even brandy.

This apricot season, you're going to have to be patient. But, trust me, when you find that perfectly ripe apricot and bite into its velvety soft skin and taste its jammy sweet-tart flesh, you'll be amply rewarded.

Grilled Apricot, Mascarpone, and Prosciutto Toasts

You'll love these grilled Apricot, Mascarpone, and Prosciutto Toasts for many reasons: They're easy to prepare. They work equally well as an appetizer or a brunch item. They're guaranteed to elicit smiles from your guests. Don't worry if you don't have a grill. You can either use a grill pan on the stovetop or broil them in the oven.

This recipe is all about opposites attracting: Sweet-tart apricots are a delicious foil to salty prosciutto and creamy mascarpone cheese. A drizzle of sticky, sweet honey and a sprinkling or earthy rosemary round out the flavors. I don't need to tell you that they're remarkably good when paired with a crisp sparkling wine.

Grilled Apricot, Mascarpone, and Prosciutto Toasts
Makes 12 servings, or 24 if sliced in half
Print recipe only here.

12 slices thinly cut, crusty Italian bread
3-4 tablespoons olive oil for brushing bread and apricots
6-8 firm, ripe apricots, split in half, and pitted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
12 slices prosciutto, about 1/3-1/2 pound
honey, for drizzling
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high. Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Remove and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, toss apricot halves with remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place cut side down on the grates and grill for 1- 1 1/2 minutes, until lightly marked and softened. Turn over and grill another 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate, and cut each half into 2-3 slices.

3. To assemble toasts: Spread 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese on each grilled bread slice. Top with a slice of prosciutto, 3-4 slices of grilled apricot, a drizzle of honey, and some fresh rosemary. Lightly dust with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.

You might also like these apricot recipes from Food Blogga:
Fresh Apricot Muffins
Fresh Apricot and Cherry Cobbler with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust
Apricot, Ginger, and White Chocolate Scones (made with dried apricots)

Here are more apricot recipes you might enjoy:
Roasted Apricots with Brie recipe from She Craves
Roasted Apricots with Rosemary recipe from Cookworm
Grilled Apricots with Dark Chocolate, Honey, Pistachios, and Cream recipe from 5 Second Rule

36 comments:

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

Wow that looks like the most amazing toast/bruschetta I have ever seen. I bet that is one fabulous flavor combo.

Jessie said...

Hi, I've read your blog for awhile now and I really love it. These look delicious. I'm having people over for dinner tonight and I just might have to try this.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What an amazing combination of flavors - the smokiness of the grill, the sweet taste of the fruit, and the saltiness of the prosciutto. The apricots looks impossibly perfect!

Anonymous said...

I'm in love. :)

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

What a wonderful combination. Love it as an appetizer idea. Thanks for sharing.

Koek! said...

That looks like heaven on a plate!

Anna said...

Love love love apricots and prosciutto! I used to live in the apricot trees when I was little and stuff my face with them every summer. I have been on a cherry binge this past week, but I'll have to go hunting for some apricots next. Great recipe!

Cheryl said...

Yes, please.

Unlike peaches, which I adore raw, I actually prefer apricots that are grilled, poached, or roasted. Maybe it's a textural thing.

So, basically, I could quite love these little toasts.

All Things Yummy said...

Sounds like a delicious recipes. I've got to try it. Thanks for sharing.

Simply Life said...

oh yum! what a great mix of flavors!

Holly Keegan said...

It's all my favorite things: sweet, salty, tart, creamy. I'm giddy just thinking about it. Thanks for the tips on apricots. It's a fruit I'm not all the familiar with and tend to ignore. Not anymore!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. More than worth the wait.

RamblingTart said...

Oh Susan, I LOVE these little toasts! Such lovely color and the apricots would go so beautifully with the other elements you've chosen. :-) I'm truly inspired. :-)

sunita said...

What a lovely idea Susan. I absolutely adore apricots.

We Are Not Martha said...

Wow, what an amazing flavor combination! And they're so beautiful too. This is definitely the perfect summer patio party food :)

Sues

Tasty Eats At Home said...

This sounds divine. We don't have local apricots around here, and it seems to be that those California apricots do nothing but deteriorate on their trip to Texas. They always arrive mealy. Bleh. Too bad, because I adore a juicy, fresh apricot! That being said, this would be a lovely meal with fresh Texas peaches!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a mouthwatering picture! You've got me thinking about apricots now.

Carrie Pacini said...

Wow, this looks great. I love the combination of flavor of the toast.

bellini valli said...

Apricots are coming next month so I can't wait to experiment.

Megan said...

These look killer! I'm going on vacation next week (camping in a 5th wheel) and I cant wait to try these! Our friends will love them!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Mascarpone and prosciutto- how can that ever be wrong? I love prosciutto and sweet fruits. My brother takes peach slices (apricots I'm sure would also be great), wraps them in prosciutto, and grills them on skewers. Heaven. He needs to stick it on toast with mascarpone!

Stacy (Little Blue Hen) said...

Lovely. I almost bought some apricots last week but the fruit stand guy recommended the pluots and who was I to argue? My neighborhood market is today so I will check to see how they are this week. So glad for the selection tips since I've never bought them before!

Karen Caplan said...

Love it!! Also, be on the lookout for a special white-flesh apricot variety called Angelcots. Ralphs Fresh Fare stores are just getting them in now. Here's my recent post about them http://whatsonkarensplate.blogspot.com/2010/06/taste-of-heaven.html

Anna@Tallgrass Kitchen said...

What a fabulous summer appetizer - and I bet the rosemary sets if off just perfectly.

It's the short season that makes the stonefruits all the more desirable - I'm gearing up for sour cherries here in Wisconsin - just another week or two!

rookie cookie said...

Those apricots in that first picture look as soft and plump as my newborn baby's bottom.

When I lived in Rancho Cucamonga, someone from church gave me a big bag of apricots from her tree. They were like nothing I have ever tasted. And they were so perfect that I could peel them apart instead of having to cut them in half. Pure perfection.

Livin Local said...

How beautiful! The local orchards are just opening up for U-pick now, so I'll get a few for this yummy treat.

The Food Hunter said...

I love this combination!!

Window On The Prairie said...

I love apricots, my very favorite fruit. Lovely pics too.
Suzanne

Goody said...

The apricots I've been seeing in the Midwest are gigantic-they look exactly like peaches. I have no idea where they are from. I'm told they can be grown locally, but I've yet to see any evidence of that at the farmer's market. They're also around four dollars a pound. I know, I know.

Kiddo is crazy for them though, so I buy him a couple each week when I shop, but any hopes of a large enough batch to make jam this year is looking hopeless-unless the price comes down later in the season. I will however be making him a meatless version of this, because next to apricots, that kid's favourite food group is toast.

Jacqueline said...

It is rare that I ever lay my hands on really fresh and sweet apricots, but you have got me in the mood for them :)

Nicisme said...

That looks positivly fabulous, very summery and refreshing!

nora@ffr said...

yummm!!! vat a n amazing combo!!! sooo healthy :) m soo in love!! :) love the yummyy pretty pic of the delicious looking apricots :)
cheers!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jessica-Wow! Thanks so much! :)

jessie-That is so sweet of you to say. I appreciate that.:)

tw-Ooh, now you're making me want some more again!

anonymous- It happens.

rockies-That's what I'm doing with them this weekend.

koek-Thanks!

anna-Cherry binge. Apricot binge. You're my kind of girl. ;)

cheryl-Yeah, I agree that the texture isn't as satisfying as peaches. I love them roasted or grilled though. Hope you do too.

yummy-You're welcome!

simplylife-Thanks!

holly-You should get to know apricots better. They're really lovely.

linda-Yes!

ramblingtart-I'm smiling really BIG right now. Can you see? :)

sunita-They are a special fruit.

sues-Thanks a bunch! Glad you like them so much!

tastyeats-OH, yes. I'd wait for the Texas peaches too. Mealy apricots are blegh.

lynn-That's a good thing, right? ;)

carrie-Many thanks!

val-I hope you try them next month then!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

megan-Camping in a 5th wheel? Sorry, but, huh?

sdoc-I had that last summer and they were divine! Your brother has seriously good taste.:)

stacy-Pluots are fabulous too though. And I'm sure he steered you right. Maybe next time?

karen-Thanks for the heads up!

anna-Sour cherries? Maybe I should make a trip to Wisconsin. ;)

rookie-What a sweet image. I love it!

livinlocal-Don't you just love U-Pick? Have fun!

foodhunter-Thank you!

suzanne-Really? That's great. They aren't usually that high on most people's radar. :)

goody-I know what you mean. All the really delicious, healthy foods are always so much more expensive. I love that you treat your little one to one or two a week. And I hope that jam works out for you. :)

jacqueline-Good! That's what I want to hear.

nic-They really are ideal for this time of year. Thanks!

nora-They're easy to fall for!

Garrett said...

I do believe this will be made for my book club meeting. =)

Kathleen said...

I made these on the 4th! Even though they weren't as pretty as yours, they were a huge hit with everyone (even the veggie versions sans prosciutto)! Thanks for the great recipe!

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