Although perfectly palatable and simple to eat, fresh apricots just don’t do it for me. But cooked? Wow! Whether roasting, grilling, stewing, or poaching them, cooked apricots radiate flavor.
An added bonus is the simplicity with which they can be readied for cooking because there is no peeling involved. Although, they are fragile. Sometimes I can barely get them home before they are bruised and soft.)
Common varieties of apricots are Perfection, Goldbar, and Rival. Some are completely gold; others have a red blush. Like my mother, I tend to favor the Perfection apricot for making jam (and for the Apricot and Walnut Streusel Bars, this page)
. Overripe apricots are perfect for jam making, and they can be quickly cooked down into a puree for freezing and storing. Firm apricots (just slightly underripe) are important if you’re going to grill or poach them.
Grilled Apricots with Brown Butter and Maple-Tamari Glaze
Step out onto the deck and try your hand at grilling fruit. Grilled apricots pair well with the brown butter, which elevates this dessert. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce and is also thicker and less salty. This is possibly the most savory recipe in this book, with its umami overtones, and would be a good addition to fish and meat dishes.
Makes 6 servings (ingredients)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch kosher salt
6 large apricots (just ripe and firm)
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other high-heat oil)
How to prepare Grilled Apricots
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, letting it foam and then brown. You should see brown bits in the bottom of the pan (but not black). The butter should smell pleasantly nutty. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the butter into a small bowl. Add the maple syrup, tamari, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and whisk to combine.
2. Split the apricots from end to end into halves, removing the pits. Lay out the apricot halves cut side down on a baking sheet or plate. Preheat the grill. If you are using a gas grill, set the heat on medium flame. (If your grill tends to run hot, the lowest heat will work fine.) Charcoal grills can be more finicky, but with either grill, work with medium-low heat. (You could also prepare these with a grill pan on the stove.) Pour the oil on a folded paper towel, and use tongs to wipe the lightly oiled paper towel down the grill grate. Use the tongs to place the apricot halves cut side down on the hot grill in a single layer, at least 1 inch apart. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, or until there are distinct grill marks on the bottom of the apricots and they soften. Carefully turn over the apricots with the tongs. Generously brush the glaze on the apricots and grill another 2 minutes, or until they are cooked through and tender but not falling apart.
3. Remove the apricots from the grill, and place them cut side up on a serving plate. Heat the remaining glaze in a small pot, whisking well, and drizzle over the apricots. The apricots can be eaten warm or at room temperature, and extras are wonderful the next morning on your yogurt.