Now that Thanksgiving has passed and it’s the 1st day of December, everyone in New England knows what that means – grilling season!
Not really. But this grilled brie is a dandy. It’s definitely worth breaking out the charcoal chimney. This little gem is so warm and comforting, it’s perfect if you’re hosting a holiday soirée or Winter dinner party.
This is a seasonal spin on an appetizer we first made this past July. We were hosting a Bastille Day dinner and I was faced with that age-old quandary – what to serve to commemorate the French Revolution? I know – it’s a constant struggle. I was planning to prepare a cheese plate with the compulsory wedge of brie when it occurred to me, the grill would be hot for steaks – why not grill the cheese? I coated the brie with honey and fresh thyme and it came together beautifully.
It was delicious, but Michael and I agreed we could have kept it on the grill a bit longer. We made it a second time with the exact same ingredients, but added a touch of smoked paprika. We kept it on the grill a few minutes more, resulting in a gorgeous caramelized exterior. We tried it a third time at a tailgate with a a goat-milk brie and the flavor was incredible, but the consistency was a bit runny – more like a fondue. The key take-aways are to find a firm round of brie and to let it set a bit after removing from the heat – not too long – just long enough for your guests ooh and aah.
For Thanksgiving I opted for maple syrup and pomegranate seeds. Alternatively, I think agave nectar or brown sugar would both work well and it can be topped with berries, nuts, fruit – even chocolate. I’d also like to try this with savory ingredients like pesto, olives or sundried tomatoes.
It’s really impressive and rustic looking, served on cedar planks hot off the grill. In fact, while I do not consider myself ‘outdoorsy’ in the sense that I like to spend time in the woods or sleep outside, I do think this might be a great addition to a camping menu. And of course, if grilling is not your thing, you could definitely bake a similar version in the oven (without the planks).
Grilled Brie with Maple Syrup and Pomegranate Seeds
1 small to medium wheel of brie with firm rind
1 tpsb maple syrup (approximately)
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cedar plank (or 2 smaller planks), soaked
Crackers or bread
This dish can be made on both gas or charcoal grill, however this particular recipe is based on charcoal grilling.
Soak the cedar plank in cold water for an hour prior to grilling.
Spread heated coals evenly across the bottom of the grill. You’re looking for medium, direct-heat. Place soaked planks on the grate and allow to char on both sides. Place brie in the center of the plank. Grill for approximately 15 minutes, monitoring closely until cheese is golden brown, expanding in size (think Jiffy Pop popcorn) and almost bursting along the sides. Note: You want some smoke, but be careful of flare-ups.
Once removed from the heat, top with pomegranate seeds. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with crackers or bread.