Some fruits are just made for the grill. When kissed by the flame and smoke, the tapestries of sugars caramelize into flavors of decadence. Peaches and figs are two such fruits that undergo such a majestic transformation. One the pride of Georgia, and the other, the Mediterranean aphrodisiac enjoyed by the gods. Both come into season later in the summer. Both also pair deliciously with blue cheese.
This recipe is a perfect summertime appetizer. Luscious, radiant, and sensual, it will perk up any cookout gathering. And seriously, who does not love a quick grilled flatbread? Especially one that is complex in flavors and textures. The sweet tang of a reduced balsamic glaze, peppery notes from an arugula salad, the funky and velvety blue cheese bechamel, all are agents of deepness that ultimately help the grilled peaches and figs shine intently. There are many different steps and activities happening at the same time for this recipe. So I recommend making this with some friends. All the better.
Grilled fig and peach flatbread with blue cheese sauce and balsamic glaze
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
For the flatbread:
- 8 peaches, thinly sliced
- 24-30 figs, thinly sliced (variety of Mission, Turkish, etc)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 medium-sized pita or other flatbread
For the blue cheese bechamel:
- 2/3 stick butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 lb blue cheese, preferably Roqeufort or Gorgonzola
- 3 garlic cloves, smash
- 2 tablespoons shallot, grated
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
For the garnish and reduced balsamic glaze dressing:
- 2 cup arugula or rocket greens
- 1 shallot, sliced
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 french cloves
Prepare the balsamic reduction that is drizzled over the flatbread. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, bay leaves and french cloves. Bring this up to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Have this mixture simmer for 30 minutes. It will reduce by more than half, thicken, and transform into syrup.
Get the figs and peaches ready for the grill. Dress the thinly sliced fruit with olive oil, salt and pepper. Over a medium heat grill, place the figs and peaches. Cook in batches, if necessary. Grill only on one side for 3-5 minutes. Grill marks and caramelized sugar char is what we want, but do not burn the fruit. Remove from grill, drizzle with honey, and set them aside. We want them at room temperature for the final dish.
Warm up the heavy cream in a microwave until warm. In a large sauce pot over medium-low heat, add the butter. Once melted, stir in the flour. Stir the butter and flour around for 5-10 minutes to create a white roux. The color will be slightly yellowish and a nutty aroma will permeate the kitchen. Gradually pour in the warm heavy cream whilst whisking vigorously to eliminate lumps. Add the bay leaves, nutmeg, garlic, and grated onion. Cook the bechamel over low heat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring once in a while. Then, finally, crumble the blue cheese into the blue cheese and stir in.
Quickly whip up an arugula and shallot salad. Dress it with olive oil, touch of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Grill the flatbread/pita for 3-4 minutes, until toasted and crunchy. Generously lather the grilled flatbread/pita with the blue cheese bechamel. Then artistically lay the grilled figs and peaches in mesmerizing patterns on the flatbread. Place a small handful of the arugula salad in the flatbread’s center. Then gingerly drizzle the reduced balsamic glaze on top of the entire flatbread.
Now you’re all set. Eat and enjoy.