My friend, cookbook author Linda Eckhardt, brought these to a cookout, and they disappeared. The combination of sweet apricot, tart goat cheese, and crunchy nuts is irresistible. If you wish, substitute pistachios (they don’t need to be skinned) for the hazelnuts.
Yield: Makes 18 pieces
½ cup hazelnuts
9 ripe apricots
4 ounces rindless goat cheese, at room temperature
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the hazelnut skins are cracked, about 12 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and let cool until easy to handle. Using the towel as an aid, rub the skins off the hazelnuts (but do not worry about removing every trace of skin!). Cool completely. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and place them in a shallow bowl.
2. Cut the apricots in half lengthwise and remove the pits. If desired, cut large apricots in half again. Spread the cut sides with the goat cheese. Press the goat-cheese side of each apricot into the hazelnuts to evenly coat the cheese. (The apricots can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Arrange the apricots on a platter and serve.