When I was in Italy attending Meeta’s food photography workshop back in May, we were given the opportunity to pick from loads of gorgeous produce to take outside and photograph. And as I just mentioned – Italy. So you know everything was perfectly ripe, heirloom, and stunning. The tomatoes were the most coveted item, beautiful varieties I hadn’t seen before.
When it came time to gather our things and head outside, my Cut Throat Kitchen style grabbing skills failed me, though. The tomatoes were the first to go.
After coming in second place for those, I started to eye the olives on the table. My first thought was – these would look great with those tomatoes – but those beauties weren’t coming back any time soon. I had to get more creative.
After deciding that the inviting monochromatic green hue needed a pop of color, I grabbed some orange apricots, too.
Once outside, I couldn’t have been in a better environment for my picks. We were surrounded by olive trees and with the mid-morning sun bright, I did what I could to use the branches of the trees to create a bit of a natural filter for the light.
I took a lot of pictures. I even accepted the offer of hand modeling as I played around with some new shots.
When we closed out the workshop, we spent some time reviewing each others images. Some of my favorites from my weekend were the bright orange and green of the apricots and olives. During this time, it was brought up that everyone wasn’t quite sure how the two went together.
My response – Oh, just wait.
In my head – Challenge accepted.
The truth is, I’d had this on my mind since I began taking the shots of the two ingredients together. I was trying to create that story that everyone talks about when it comes to putting together food photos. I’ve never been all that great at creating those stories for my own work, but I knew I wanted to figure out a way to use the ingredients together.
I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty so I knew the combination wouldn’t be that far-fetched. I was just a little anxious that the apricots would be long gone before I got back to my kitchen. The seasons come earlier in the Central Valley.
Fortunately, fresh apricots were still hanging around allowing me to follow through with my promise to create something out of two unexpected ingredients.
I no longer consider apricots and olives to be strangers.
I love stuffed fruits, especially when you add a strong or salty cheese and drizzle on some honey. Figs or dates with blue cheese, plums and peaches with ricotta; it doesn’t get any better than sweet and salty in one.
I left the salt to the olives and chopped them fine. Then I stirred in some pecans to add crunch and nutty sweetness. This went inside the halved apricots.
I use blue cheese a lot so this time I decided to branch out with Brie and topped each half with a small piece. It ended up being the perfect swap.
Once these are broiled just long enough to make the cheese soft and creamy and the apricots warm and tender, they are drizzled with a little honey before serving.
It’s sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy in one bite. I think they are best served warm, but if you don’t want to turn on the broiler, they are also tasty without the warming. They are the best little bite of summer I’ve had so far this year.
Warm Stuffed Apricots with Green Olives, Pecans, and Brie
Makes 16 bites
What you’ll need:
8 apricots, halved and pitted
1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped raw pecans
2 to 3 oz. Brie, cut into 16 pieces
Honey for drizzling
How to make it:
Place the top rack of the oven about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler to low.
Place the apricot halves cut-side up on a sheet pan.
In a small bowl, stir together the olives and pecans. Spoon an equal amount onto each of the apricot halves. Top each halve with a piece of Brie.
Broil for about 4 minutes, until the cheese begins to melt and bubble. Remove from the oven, drizzle with honey, and serve.