This dessert has all the virtues of fresh fruit with just a hint of indulgence from the browned butter and sugar. And it's just as good made on a home stove as over a fire. John Gorham of the Toro Bravo restaurant group in Portland created the recipe to go with the Olive Oil Cake with Summer Fruit, but it's also excellent spooned over ice cream.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons sugar
Generous pinch kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split
2 1/2 pounds peaches or nectarines (about 5), pitted and cut into 1/2-in. wedges
1 1/4 pounds figs (1 1/2 pts.), stems trimmed, halved or quartered if large
How to Make It
Dig a pit and build a fire in it*, or use a firepit with a built-in grate. Let fire burn to medium-high and spread out logs as needed; if using your own grate, set it in place.
Put butter, sugar, and salt in a large, heavy dutch oven or enameled cast-iron pot. Scrape vanilla seeds into pot and add bean. Set pot on grate over fire or on stove over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture turns golden brown and frothy and begins to smell like caramel, 3 to 6 minutes.
Add fruit and stir to coat. Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit has released some juice and is glossy and glazed but not mushy, 2 to 4 minutes.
*The chefs use a grate with legs (Stansport Camp Grill, from $22; stansport.com). A charcoal grill grate set on bricks also works.
Make ahead: Cut fruit the morning of your outing (toss peaches with 2 tbsp. lemon juice) and chill airtight in a cooler.