When I was a kid, my parents had a single Blenheim apricot tree in the backyard. It’s now over 40 years old and still producing fruit. Each summer, we would anxiously await the ripening of the green fruit, which transformed into a bright golden-orange when ready. There is about a two- or three-week window to harvest them all before they drop to the ground or are pecked away by birds or nibbled on by squirrels.
Blenheim apricots are the créme de la créme of the stone fruit family. They are super sweet and juicy, with a slightly tangy skin. If you haven’t tried one, come down to the farmers market to find out what all the fuss is about. They are delicious as is, but can also be enjoyed as the base of a pie, crisp or cobbler. Homemade preserves is another way to harness their dynamic flavor, and you can use the spread over toast or bagels, or as a glaze for pork, chicken or fish preparations.
This week, I made a simple appetizer by stuffing the apricots with chévre, grilled corn, crumbled bacon and fresh mint, then finishing them with aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The sweet and savory components really come together nicely.
Sam Edelman is general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and host of “Farm to Table,” which airs live 9 a.m. Thursdays on KZSB AM 1290.
BLENHEIM APRICOTS STUFFED WITH GRILLED CORN & BACON
10 Blenheim apricots, cut in half and pits discarded (available from Vincent Farm at the Tuesday and Saturday Santa Barbara farmers markets as well as other growers)
4 ounces chévre
3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 small ear of corn, grilled and kernels removed
10 large mint leaves, finely chopped
Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Olive oil, for drizzling
Place apricots on serving platter, cut side up. In mixing bowl, combine chévre, bacon, corn kernels and mint leaves; mix until well incorporated. Place about a tablespoon of mixture into each apricot cavity. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil.
Yield: 20 appetizers