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Make grilled peach toast with almond ricotta & balsamic drizzle this summer

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Summer is my favorite time for fruit and it’s everyone’s favorite time for grilling, so we’re putting the two together with this grilled peach toast with almond ricotta recipe.

In my humble opinion, everything tastes better on the grill. This might sound strange coming from a vegan, but it is a common misconception that the grill is meant for meats. Grilling allows us to apply high temperature dry heat to our food, resulting is charred marks on the areas that come in direct contact with the grates. That adds a beautiful dimension of flavor, especially when cooked over coals. Grilling fruit is an amazing way to bring out the juiciness and sweetness of under-ripe fruit. Not to mention, a little char on the fruit gives it almost a savory feel.

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This recipe is a fantastic way to make use of the hard peaches you might find at your local grocery store. In fact, when you plan on grilling peaches, you should actually be hunting for firm peaches with very little give. Ripe peaches have more sugar, which burns quickly and turns the peaches into a mushy mess when cooked. Grilling actually helps to release the sugars in under-ripe fruit, so in the end the grilled fruit tastes as sweet or sweeter than raw ripe fruit. While grilled peaches are incredibly simple, they always look so elegant and fancy on a plate.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make this grilled peach toast

For almond ricotta

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (at least 5 hours)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water plus more, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

For balsamic drizzle

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For toast

3-4 firm yellow peaches
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups baby arugula
Almond ricotta, to taste
Balsamic drizzle, to taste

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Start by preparing the almond ricotta. This can be done a few days in advance to save time. Just remember to soak the almonds overnight or about 6-8 hours before preparing. Peel the skin off the soaked almonds — this should be pretty easy to do once they are soaked. You just need to squeeze the edge of the skin and the almond will pop out like a pea from a pod.

Add almonds, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and 2 tablespoons of water to a food processor and process on high until you have a smooth mixture, scraping down the sides as needed. If the mixture is dry, add more water bit by bit and process until mixture is smooth with no chunks, similar to the consistency of ricotta. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

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Next, preheat your grill or grill pan to medium heat. Slice the peaches into 1-inch-thick slices and toss in olive oil with a bit of salt. You want the slices to be relatively thick so that they can maintain their shape once you cook them because they become super soft when cooked. The olive oil will help keep the peaches from getting stuck to the grill grates, so be sure they are completely covered. Add peaches to grill and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until nice grill lines appear. Be gentle as you flip them or else the charred sugar might get stuck to the grate. This is not a real problem, but it means you will lose those beautiful grill lines that look so lovely on the plate.

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While the peaches are grilling, prepare the balsamic drizzle. Add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring at first to ensure that the sugar is dissolved in the vinegar. Reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon without immediately sliding off. Once the peaches are ready, grill your bread for about 3 minutes on each side or until grill lines appear. As always, I recommend using a good, crusty bread for this dish. I went with a French country loaf from Whole Foods.

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Once the bread is grilled, add a layer of almond ricotta, followed by a layer of fresh baby arugula. Top the toast with grilled peaches and drizzle with balsamic drizzle.

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This recipe almost tastes like peach jam on toast. It would be great as a brunch menu item or as an appetizer before dinner. The peaches are sweet and succulent, but the grilling makes this dish savory enough to enjoy as part of a meal. As a vegan, I can’t necessarily speak to this, but many people enjoy grilled peaches as a side dish with grilled or cured meats. Alternatively, you can also just grill up some peaches and serve them with ice cream, which tastes a bit like a partial peach pie.

Looking for a more decadent breakfast? Try Funfetti Japanese pancakes:

Grilled Peach Toast with Almond Ricotta & Balsamic Drizzle

Yield 6-8 toasts

Ingredients

For almond ricotta

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (at least 5 hours)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water plus more, as needed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For balsamic drizzle

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For toast

  • 3-4 firm yellow peaches
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • Almond ricotta, to taste
  • Balsamic drizzle, to taste

Instructions

  1. Drain the soaked almonds and peel the skin off.
  2. Add almonds, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and 2 tablespoons of water to a food processor and process on high until you have a smooth mixture, scraping down the sides as needed. If the mixture is dry, add more water bit by bit and process until mixture is smooth with no chunks, similar to the consistency of ricotta. Set aside.
  3. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  4. Slice the peaches into 1-inch-thick slices (about 8-10 slices per peach).
  5. Toss peaches in olive oil and add salt, to taste.
  6. Add peaches to grill and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until nice grill lines appear.
  7. While peaches are grilling, prepare the balsamic drizzle. In a small saucepan, mix brown sugar and balsamic vinegar together. Bring to a boil, stirring at first to ensure that all sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  8. Grill bread for about 3 minutes on each side or until grill lines appear. Then add a layer of almond ricotta followed by a layer of fresh baby arugula. Top the toast with grilled peaches and drizzle with balsamic drizzle.

 

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