Caramelized Stonefruit, Balsamic & Basil

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The markets finally have juicy, sweet stonefruit!! Soft, juicy stonefruit is a bit of an oxymoron, I know, but the term stone actually refers to the common seed or pit that is found in peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and cherries.  I’ve been waiting all summer, checking weekly to see if these little gems have arrived. They are here and they are perfectly ripe and irresistible. The kind of ripe that takes serious willpower to stop yourself from immediately biting in, leaving your cheeks and fingers dripping with sticky, sugary goodness. Well, maybe this is an urge that is quite alright to give into!

Growing up, we always took summer vacations and family road trips on the West Coast and in Colorado and my mom was always on the lookout for roadside fruit stands with fresh peaches, nectarines and cherries. Even having access to a plethora of fresh exotic fruit growing up on a tropical fruit farm in Hawaii doesn’t keep you from loving stonefruit, fresh from the source. These varieties require cooler climates to strive, so all we got in Hawaii was either rock hard or soft and mealy by the time they reached our little island. It’s just not the same when it’s not fresh and local. So, like I said, we were always on the lookout for these refreshing treats when on the road, and now that I’m in the Northeast, I anxiously await their arrival each summer.

Don’t let this combination scare you away. And please, don’t omit the basil or balsamic... it may sound a little strange at first, but you’ve gotta trust be me on this one, it is an amazing flavor combination. The fresh, succulent fruit will fill your mouth with juicy goodness, the basil adds a burst of fresh-out-of-the-garden flavor, and the balsamic adds the perfect amount of acid to the dish without giving it too much pucker. Reducing the balsamic concentrates the sugars and leaves you with a thick drizzle of balsamic glaze.

This is one of my favorite combinations, and I’m sure it will soon be one of yours soon too! It’s a perfect light summer dessert alone, or with a scoop of coconut milk ice cream. Can’t get enough? Have the leftovers for breakfast with a little vanilla yogurt and a sprinkle of superfood granola!

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Caramelized Stonefruit, Balsamic & Basil

  • Fresh stonefruit from your local farmers market: peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots
  • Raw organic sugar
  • Fresh basil
  • Balsamic vinegar (about 1/2 c)

Turn the broiler on high.

Cut fruit in half and/or in quarters and remove the pits. Place in a single, even layer on a baking dish with the cut side facing up. Sprinkle lightly with  sugar, just enough to lightly coat the cut sides of each piece of fruit. Place on oven rack closest to the flames of the broiler. Keep an eye on it, because the sugars caramelize quickly, but it should take between 5 and 10 minutes. Rotate pan for even caramelization if needed.

While the fruit is in the oven, rinse basil and allow to dry on a clean towel. Place ½ cup balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow it to reduce until it is a thick, honey like consistency. This can also happen quickly, so keep an eye on it. It will likely take about 5 minutes over medium-low heat.

To assemble, spoon fruit and the juices they released while cooking into a bowl, drizzle with about a teaspoon of reduced balsamic, and top with torn basil leaves. It is also delicious served with coconut milk ice cream, or for breakfast with yogurt.