Roasted Apricots with Brie

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Something to serve when you barely remembered you invited people over for dinner. Takes about 5 minutes active time, 15 to 20 minutes in the oven and everyone thinks of you as the seasonal domestic deity. The recipe here is enough for four people as a starter, but you can obviously increase or decrease the number of apricots depending on how many you need to feed.

For more intimate gatherings, as my friends and I had, the tender roasted fruit were offered by the hostess, the fava-cultivating Christi. They go down nicely when talking about the things in life that drive you crazy, that aren't going so well or that are so stupid you laugh Prosecco out of your nose. And consider this, along with some bread, fair game as a complete meal for one. Luxury in simplicity.

6 apricots, washed, sliced in half and pitted * light honey like wildflower, chamomile, citrus flower for drizzling * extra-virgin oil for drizzling * kosher or sea salt & black pepper to taste * 4 ounces ripe Brie, Camembert, D'Affinois, or any other soft rinded cheese (it's your call on pungency)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the apricots cut-side up (their empty bellies should be facing you) on a baking sheet. You can line it with parchment or foil to make cleaning easier. From the bottle spout or with a spoon, drizzle the honey over the fruit, just enough each fruit is laced with it, not drenched. [NOTE: I don't give a measurement here because I consider it rather inconvenient to measure spoonfuls of honey and to always have to scrape it out. Precision isn't necessary here.] Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over the apricots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place into the hot oven.

Cook for about 15 or until apricots soften but still hold their shape. The edges might brown and blister a bit because of the natural sugars and honey. Even better. Remove baking sheet from the oven. Using your fingers or a knife, place a dab of cheese into each of the pitted apricot bellies. Return to oven for five minutes, just to soften the cheese into goo.

Serve immediately.

For the grill: You want the temperature to read 350 to 400. Instead of drizzling with oil, mix the halved apricots in a bowl with the olive oil, honey salt and pepper. Place on the grill cut-side down (flat part) and cook until softened (about 10 minutes). Flip and dollop with the cheese. Cover and let warm (about 2 minutes). Alternatively, you can follow the directions above and cook the fruit in a casserole/container that can be put onto the grill, covered and let alone for 20 minutes.