I know. Just the name of the recipe sounds luscious. And it is. Roasting the cherries and tomatoes takes a while, but there’s no heavy lifting involved, and planking the cheese is a snap. One taste of this molten, smoky, tangy/sweet concoction and you’ll be addicted. I want to acknowledge my friend Gail Norton for the relish recipe, and planking god Ted Reader for the cooking technique, which he showcases in his great Sticks & Stones cookbook.
1 maple or fruitwood plank, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour 2 small rounds brie (1/4 lb | 125 g each) 1 cup | 250 mL Roasted Tomato-Cherry Relish (recipe follows) 2 Tbsp | 15 mL balsamic reduction (see sidebar page xx)
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Cut the top of the rind off each of the rounds of brie. Grind a little pepper over the exposed cheese. Spread about 1⁄2 cup | 125 mL of the relish over the brie rounds. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4–5 minutes, or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly. Place the cheese on the plank and cook it for 10–12 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden and starts to soften (be careful not to overcook it—the cheese can fall apart, and then you’ve got a tasty mess on your hands). Remove the brie from the grill and drizzle it with the balsamic reduction. Garnish it with a few fresh grape tomatoes and/or cherries and serve it, on the plank, with crusty bread, rye crisps, or your favorite crackers.
Roasted Tomato-Cherry Relish Makes about 2 cups | 500 mL 1 lb | 500 g ripe fresh cherries, pits removed 1 lb | 500 g grape tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes 1/4 cup | 50 mL extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt balsamic reduction for drizzling (see sidebar page xxx)
Preheat the oven to 350°F | 180°C. Spread the cherries and tomatoes on a large baking pan in one layer. Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the salt over the fruit and toss the cherries and tomatoes to coat them. Place the fruit in the oven and roast it for 1 hour, mixing it around once or twice. Reduce the heat to 300°F | 150°C and roast the fruit for another hour, again mixing it once or twice. The tomatoes and cherries should be nicely caramelized. Drizzle the relish with a little more oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, mix them in thoroughly, and transfer the mixture to a storage container. This relish keeps in the fridge for 1 or 2 weeks and freezes well.