Peaches with pecorino and prosciutto. How could you not love a dish with so few ingredients that they are all listed in its name? Three ingredients and fifteen minutes to pull together an appetizer that makes you look like a culinary genius. It took me longer to take the photos than it did to make the dish.
The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to slice the peaches into 1/8ths instead of halves. Half a peach seemed a bit heavy for an appetizer, and wrapping the prosciutto around the slices guarantees you salty, buttery goodness in every bite.
Summer is the height of season for peaches, which are harvested between late spring and early autumn depending on the location. Ripe peaches are naturally soft and sweet, and I salivated from the hint of caramel wafting through the kitchen as the peaches sizzled on the grill. I would have preferred to make this on a traditional charcoal or gas grill, but modest-sized New York apartments do not give me that luxury. Instead I called on my trusty Cuisinart griddler, which was still able to produce the beautiful grill marks associated with summer dining.
We often see the combination of peaches and cream. The prosciutto turned out to be a good savory substitute for the cream, bringing both a salty taste and a buttery mouthfeel to the dish. We splurged for prosciutto di Parma. Although, I have not really compared this to the domestic version; I will have to pick up some domestic prosciutto slices tomorrow and perform a side-by-side taste test. Do you notice the difference?
Eating only the soft, caramelized peach and fatty prosciutto left a heavy taste in my mouth. That is where the pecorino cheese came in. Its tangy, pungent flavor offset the heaviness the way lemon juice and vinegar cut through olive oil in a balanced vinaigrette.
Pecorino is also known to pair well with honey and prosciutto. So this recipe is a play on that flavor trio, with the caramelized peaches taking a hearty center-stage in place of the honey. Thinking through this recipe gave me an interesting revelation. I do not need to feel pressured to be able to make up my own recipes from scratch. Instead it is a matter of taking tried and true flavor combinations and making substitutions with ingredients that have a similar profile, but that are different enough to offer a new angle on a classic.
Grilled Peaches with Pecorino and Prosciutto
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 firm but ripe large peaches, halved, pitted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 very thin slices pecorino cheese (each about 2×2 inches, shaved with vegetable peeler from large wedge)
4 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
Spray grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare barbecue (high heat). Brush peach halves with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill peaches until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side. Place on large plate, skin side down; top each with cheese slice and drape with prosciutto. Serve immediately.