Grilled Nectarines with Cinnamon Mascarpone

Last year, our CSA added fruit shares to their stock of available produce deliveries. Like a crack dealer, they included some cherries and these beautiful little miracles called donut peaches in a couple of our regular vegetable shares to tantalize us and get us hooked. We somehow managed to resist adding a fruit share until this summer. After seeing email notifications that shares included apples, berries, nectarines, cherries, and those delicious donut peaches, we caved and added a fruit share mid-season. As with all things that are or are not newsworthy, I posted the news to Facebook and received the following, lovely quote from my friend Thom who said he’d look forward to seeing what I do with our fruit share on this blog:

“I love working with what nature hands me as opposed to forcing nature’s hand to give me exactly what I want! It’s an adventure.”

That pretty much sums up what I’m trying to do here, so in exchange for this quote, Thom– this post is for you.

Well so far, in the two shares we’ve received, there hasn’t been a ton of variety, mostly nectarines and peaches. But this isn’t a complaint mind you– each piece of fruit has been sweet, juicy, and delicious. I welcomed downing those donut peaches even more during the days of hot (for Seattle) 80 degree weather we had last week. Also in town last week? Lots of family, mostly in-laws, here to officially meet the baby at her Chinese One Month party (held a month late.) We had so much fun spending time with family and were especially grateful for all the offers to babysit, particularly from Jane who claimed she didn’t mind since she missed her own grandchildren. Although Jane and my father-in-law offered to babysit one more time on Monday night, John and I opted to thank them and spend time with them instead by making dinner. A last-minute affair, I grabbed what looked good for entrees and sides from the store and from our fridge, then John panicked that we didn’t really have anything for dessert. That’s when I spied the CSA nectarines that had otherwise been neglected by the showier peaches. Since we were firing up the grill for steaks and sides, why not grill the nectarines too?

I split the nectarines in half and removed the pits then lightly brushed them with neutral flavored canola oil. To help them caramelize and add flavor, I sprinkled them with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon. They went on the grill while we finished up dinner until they were all sweet, warm and gooey. It seemed a shame not to pair them with something cool and creamy, so I topped them with dollops of mascarpone cheese that was flavored with more of the cinnamon sugar combo along with a tiny splash of almond extract. As a finishing touch, I added crushed amaretti cookies, giving some nice crunch and added sweetness. Slightly sticky, sweet, and spicy, this was a light but flavorful summer dessert, perfect for the cooler but still summery weather we had the other night.

  • 1.5 lbs (or 4 medium) nectarines, split in half and pit removed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 6-7 amaretti cookies

Heat grill, setting coals to one side so that there is both direct and indirect heat. Brush flesh side of each nectarine half with oil. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl then sprinkle half of the mixture on the nectarines. Grill over direct heat for 1-2 minutes or until grill marks form then remove to cooler, indirect heat. Cover grill and cook until nectarines are cooked through and soft, about 5-10 minutes. While nectarines finish cooking, combine mascarpone cheese with remaining sugar mixture and almond extract. Place cookies in a small plastic bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin. Plate dessert by placing two nectarine halves in a bowl then top with a 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese mixture and a sprinkle of cookie crumbles.

Serves 4

CSA Count: 1

Nectarines

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