We were in Spain last week, in Catalunya, at the northern end of Spain’s Mediterranean coast. I never go there without saying a silent (and sometimes quite vocal) thank you to my late in-laws, who bought an apartment in Aigua Blava in the 1960s.
It’s a beautiful region and fantastic for food. The produce in the markets is superb, with perfectly ripe fruit and veg, spanking fresh fish and cured meats of every shape and size.
Out shopping, though, I accidentally bought a goat’s cheese log which contained honey. I very nearly spat it out when I first tasted it as I was expecting something savoury rather than sweet and I have an aversion to cheese that’s been mucked about with.
But we had been planning to make grilled figs with goat’s cheese and honey and I thought it would work perfectly with that. Sadly I never managed to find any suitably ripe figs and on our last night when we were clearing out the fridge, our friends Robin and Nick combined it with a stray peach from the fruit bowl, inspiring this recipe.
It is a last taste of summer and as the weather in Suffolk this week promises to be positively Mediterranean it felt like the perfect dish to carry us through to the English autumn and its homelier harvest of plums and pears, apples, quince and medlars.
If you’d like to make it more of a lunch than a starter, add a few folds of wafer-thin Serrano or Parma ham and/or a handful of soft salad leaves to the plate.
Griddled Peaches with Goat's Cheese and Honey
2 ripe peaches, halved and stoned
Salt and pepper
100g soft goat’s cheese
Big handful of pecans or walnuts, chopped, with a few left whole to garnish
Runny honey, 2-3 tspn
Small bunch of herbs: try chervil, Greek basil or thyme leaves
Put a griddle pan on a medium-high heat and turn the grill to medium-high. Put the goat’s cheese in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Brush the peach halves lightly with oil, season the cut side with a little salt and pepper and griddle on both sides until nicely striped with char marks.
Put a spoonful of goat’s cheese into the middle of each peach half and place under the grill until the cheese has warmed through.
Remove to a plate, sprinkle with the chopped nuts and drizzle with honey. Scatter with herbs and eat while still warm.