Thursday, 14 June 2012

Rosemary Looney!

Albicocche, Mirtilli e Mandorle al Forno con Rosmarino e Miele
Baked Apricots, Blueberries & Almonds with Rosemary and Honey

I know that's a bit of a cheeky title for this little fruity dish here- but I couldn't resist! Not that the combination of rosemary and apricot is anything that is totally unheard of in Italian cuisine. But I just thought that, in combination with almonds and blueberries... you might just go crazy about it if you tried it!

I got my first basket of apricots of the season tonight... and the truth of the matter is- they were not really wonderful... it is still a tad early. So- what's a guy to do? Bake 'em up! That's what! There is no better way to bring out heaps of hidden flavor than to bake or grill apricots, peaches or nectarines- fact!

To further my disappointment, the blueberries were also a little less than wonderful. So something HAD to be done. The oven was on, the broiler set on low... but my expectations were set on high. But fear not- because it really was a very simple affair to transform this Summer fruit into a wonderful dessert- and only took 10 minutes to do!

I halved the apricots and dropped them into the frying pan with a small pat of butter. I added a nice sprinkle of cinnamon and tiny pinch of salt... strange but true! Next came the finely chopped rosemary and the almonds. After a minute or so, add a splash of orange juice if you are going to share this with children... or Cointreau if you are not! And see everything sizzle! Yum!

Wonderful! Now that the apricots have been cooking for 2-3 minutes, add the berries and turn the heat up high. Once the orange juice / Cointreau is nearly evaporated, add a good squeeze of honey, remove from the heat and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Arrange decoratively, laying the apricots down first and then spooning the almonds and berries on top. And don't forget those juices!

A final 2-3 minutes under the broiler is all it will take to melt that honey, caramelize it and transform some simple fruit into a wonderful and decadent treat. By letting the apricots soak up some liquid, with the rosemary boiling into it, along with the salt, to infuse it with flavor, you will have an amazing taste combination, along with the crunchy almonds and tangy berries. Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream, Greek or regular yogurt- hot or cold this is a great idea- and one that I hope you want to try out soon!

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