Fresh peaches are juicy and sweet on their own, but succulent peaches grilled to perfection paired with creamy Brie cheese make a perfect combination in salads or for sandwiches. The pairing makes for a simple yet elegant dish when served alone, but you can also use these two luscious ingredients in spinach salads or alongside candied pecans at your next dinner party.
Brie cheese – named for the French region of its origin – is a creamy cheese that was traditionally only produced in France. Today, high quality Brie rivaling that of the Old World can be had from Wisconsin and other cheese-producing regions around the globe. Soft and earthy, Brie is covered by a white rind that helps the cheese to ripen from the inside out. When the cheese is young, it has a subtle flavor reminiscent of mushrooms, and like most cheeses, its flavors become more intense with age.
Brie pairs well with high-moisture fruits such as berries, grapes and melons, and stone fruits like plums and peaches. It is best served no colder than room temperature. This makes Brie the perfect pairing for warm, freshly-grilled peaches, which will cause the cheese to soften to a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Traditional wine pairings that work well with Brie are also a delicious accompaniment when you pair the cheese with grilled peaches. Try a pinot gris, unoaked chardonnay or gewürztraminer with your Brie and peaches.
Great Grilled Peaches
Originally planted by Franciscan monks in St. Augustine, Florida, peaches have been delighting diners in the New World since the late 1500s. The peach is a variety of stone fruit, named for the hardened seed in the fruit’s center. To grill peaches, simply halve them and remove the seed, or pit, of each peach. You may want to brush the cut side of the peaches with maple syrup or sugar water. After only about five minutes on the grill, sliced side down, they’re ready to serve. For best results, select firm but ripe peaches for grilling.
Suggestions for Serving
Although Brie brought to room temperature is a very nice pairing for grilled peaches, grilling the Brie on a plank of food-safe cedar, maple or cherry wood gives the cheese a complementary smoky flavor. Toss Brie and grilled peaches with spinach and a light vinaigrette for a gourmet salad, or create a panini with Brie, peaches and fresh basil leaves. Serve alongside roasted almonds, candied pecans or fresh walnuts for a sweet and savory appetizer.
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