Meet Lucy. Rhymes with Juicy, which is what I call her. It’s short for Juicy Fruit. She lives in our house. She is Stevie’s dog. She doesn’t typically ride on motorcycles. But, this particular photo graces our living room wall. I love it.
Maybe there’s some correlation between Juicy and Stevie moving in and my insatiable hunger for fruit? Maybe not. I’ve loved fruit forever. But, roasted fruit is relatively new for me. And grapes covered in goat cheese and nuts are a revelation. The other weekend I offered to make appetizers for a dinner party. I’d gone to the farmers market that morning and filled my tote with juicy fruits. Not the dog. The sunny day melted into a warm, Indian summer evening. I whipped up a couple nibbles using only a handful of ingredients – pears, prosciutto, grapes, goat cheese, almonds. The results were not your typical chip dip or cracker topper, they were celebrations of late summer, subtly sweet and savory.
Roasted Pears with Prosciutto
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
12 slices (6 ounces) prosciutto, halved lengthwise
2 Bartlett pears–halved, cored and each half cut into 6 equal slices
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and a generous amount of black pepper. Add the pears and toss to coat.
Remove the pear slices from the maple syrup mixture and wrap each with a slice of prosciutto. Place the prosciutto-wrapped pears on the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining ½ tablespoon black pepper.
Bake until the prosciutto is crisp and begins to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm. If you like the prosciutto extra crispy, quickly broil the pears for a minute or two after they’ve baked.
I first sampled these little wonders at Lex’s wedding shower in Seattle on the eve of her wedding day. Cheese covered grapes are all the rage in the Seattle catering world. Or they should be. The grapes we had were rolled in a blue cheese/cream cheese mixture and covered in walnuts. When I recreated them a few weeks later at home, I took a different approach and used soft goat cheese. The goat was just as good and a bit lighter. Add a pinch of cayenne for a little kick.
1 bunch of large, seedless grapes
6 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature or a bit warmer
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
In a small bowl, combine goat cheese with a dash of salt and pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix until soft.
Scoop a big spoonful of goat cheese mixture onto a grape and mold to cover the entire surface. (Feels like an elementary school art project. In a good way.)
Roll goat cheese covered grape around on a plate of finely chopped almonds.
Repeat until all grapes are covered or you run out of goat cheese.
Place goat cheese grapes on a plate lined with parchment paper and pop in the refrigerator to set for an hour or so.
To serve, slice grapes in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and arrange sliced side up on a platter.