White wine-honey sauce is infused with basil, then drizzled over grilled nectarines. Crumbled ricotta salata is then sprinkled on top for a creamy, slightly-salty finish.
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry French vermouth
1/2 cup honey (I used wildflower honey)
Small sprig of basil with 3-5 leaves, or a small handful of basil blossoms (see notes), plus more for garnish
3 fresh nectarines that are just ripe and still firm
A couple Tablespoons flavorless high-heat oil such as canola
2 ounces crumbled ricotta salata cheese (see notes)
1. Set up the grill for high direct heat. Preheat it and scrub the grates clean.
2. Make the honey sauce: In a small saucepan, simmer the wine over medium heat for 5 minutes with the lid off. Turn the heat to low and stir in the honey, followed by the basil leaves or blossoms. Let the mixture steep together for 30 minutes while you prep the rest of the dish.
3. Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Brush the cut sides with oil, then lay them, cut side down, onto the grill and close the lid. Check the nectarines after a few minutes - when they develop nice grill marks (caramelization), turn the over with the cut sides up and close the lid until they are finished. Total cooking time will be about 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill and other factors. Nectarines are done when they are nicely caramelized in places on the cut sides, and slightly softened throughout when you pick them up with tongs.
4. Cut each nectarine half in half again, so that you have quarter wedges. Arrange the nectarine wedges on a serving platter or individual plates. When the honey sauce is ready, strain out the solids and drizzle the sauce over the nectarines. Sprinkle the cheese over everything and garnish with the extra basil.
If you are growing basil, this is a great use for the blossoms that need to be pinched off regularly as they appear beginning in early summer. The basil plant will continue to flourish and produce more flavorful leaves if these blossoms are pinched off as they appear. But the young blossoms have a lot of flavor, so it's nice to find uses for them (like this recipe), rather than just tossing them. If you don't have any blossoms, you can absolutely just use a sprig with leaves instead.
If you don't have access to ricotta salata, you can probably substitute feta, and maybe cotija cheese or goat cheese. Goat and feta will add a slight tang, which might be nice. If you substitute another cheese, let me know how it turns out in the comments!
You can make the sauce ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature until you are ready to use it. Then you're about 15 minutes away from dessert (just grill up the nectarines and serve).