Ready to serve in a few simple steps, Grilled Camembert with Balsamic Macerated Berries is a foolproof dish that will have you seeing stars (and stripes.)
With Memorial Day Weekend here (yay!) and Fourth of July lurking around the corner, my Pinterest feed is looking like Captain America’s catering business. There are endless amounts of red white and blue fruit tarts, swirled fudges, layered jello shots, and patriotic parfaits. But what there isn’t is something for the simple cooks and savory snackers. The ones who prefer their recipes to take 35 minutes to make and their berries to be tossed in balsamic vinegar and enveloped in a mountain of melted cheese, for example.
First of all, who decided that festive recipes have to be so elaborate? As my friends and I get older, we see far less of each other than I’d like. That means when I’m hosting a party I’m in favor of anything that frees me up to catch up on their lives, or more accurately, to swap “how to keep it together” tips and TV recommendations. (If you’ve got any to offer, please educate me in the comments.)
Second, these friends are appetizer-obsessed — so much so that they write it in their online dating profiles. If your friends are anything like mine, loading up on desserts and drinks alone wouldn’t bother them, per se, but it’s only when you whip out the cheese and crackers that you really become a star host.
That’s where Grilled Camembert with Balsamic Macerated Berries comes in.
This recipe comes together quickly (we’re talking 35 minutes here from start to finish), so there’s no need to prep your Grilled Camembert with Balsamic Macerated Berries ahead of time. No mixture needs to sit for hours, and no steps are too complex to pull off in front of your guests. If you can slice strawberries and turn on your grill, you’ve got this!
But just in case you don’t believe me, here’s the walkthrough:
To start, you’re going to want to clean and preheat your grill to low heat. If you don’t have a grill (or simply don’t want to use it), you can get just as amazing results on the stove with a grill pan.
As the grill warms, slice your strawberries. First remove the tops, then cut the large ones into quarters and the smaller berries into halves. Toss them in a bowl with blueberries, fresh thyme, sugar, and balsamic vinegar, and let them sit for 30 minutes. This allows the strawberries and blueberries to soften and release their juices, which will combine with the balsamic to create a tangy, sweet berry sauce. Prepping them far in advance may sound tempting, but starting too early will cause the berries to overly soften and turn to mush– what you save in time I promise you’ll lose in texture. No one wants a soupy mess on their hands, let alone their crostini!
The actual grilling of the cheese is the most important step, and it honestly couldn’t be easier. Spray the cheese with nonstick spray or brush it very lightly with oil– yes, directly on the rind. Place the cheese on the grill (or grill pan) and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until the cheese is grill marked and soft. Be gentle with the cheese so you don’t puncture it as you transfer it to a plate to top with the macerated berries and serve.
By the way, while you’ve got the grill going, you can always grill your bread for dipping like I did! Just slice up a stale baguette (or buy some pre-sliced– there’s often bags full of untoasted bread at my local grocery store in the bakery section) and place directly on the grates ’til grill-marked. Easy and makes for a beautiful presentation!
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CROSTINI
Not a fan of blueberries? Does one of your guests have a strawberry allergy? Any of these flavors will go great with both camembert and balsamic:
- Plum Jam
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (8 ounce) wheel camembert cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Grilled crostini or crackers, to serve
- Preheat the grill to low heat.
- As the grill warms, prepare the strawberries. Remove the tops and then cut the strawberries in half, lengthwise. Quarter any especially large berries. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the blueberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss well to combine. Let sit to macerate for 30 minutes.
- Coat the outside of the camembert with cooking spray. Place cheese directly on the grill and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until grill-marked. Flip and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
- Gently transfer the camembert to a plate and spoon the berry mixture on top. Serve warm with grilled crostini or crackers.