Nectarines and the smell of summer

By admin
23 October 2013

Summer is almost here and food blogger Sarah Graham shares a delicious poached nectarines recipe as she muses about the poetry of summer fruit.

I love those little things that are so hugely iconic in the food world, like the smell of a braai and meat cooking over hot coals wafting through the air; a slow-roasting leg of lamb when it's chilly outside; bacon frying on lazy Saturday mornings; and ripe nectarines in summer. Truly, there are few things more exquisite in their simplicity than perfectly sun-ripened fruit, unadorned and utterly beautiful. And I also love poaching seasonal fruit, stewing it in its own glorious juices until it becomes something extra special. And I know one might think, well, fruit poached in wine and spices is just that, and yet it’s so much more. It always tastes like some kind of miracle the way the juices of the fruit ooze out so willingly and complement the sugared syrup of the wine and piquancy of the spices. It’s poetry to me. It’s also one of my favorite default desserts – you can poach figs, berries, pears, apples – the list is almost endless, and it’s the epitome of low maintenance. In this case, as you can guess, it’s nectarines that take centre stage for an enchanting little post-dinner treat. Fruit poached in wine and spices is just that, and yet it’s so much more. It always tastes like some kind of miracle the way the juices of the fruit ooze out so willingly and complement the sugared syrup of the wine and piquancy of the spices. It’s poetry to me. It’s also one of my favorite default desserts – you can poach figs, berries, pears, apples – the list is almost endless, and it’s the epitome of low maintenance. In this case it’s nectarines that take centre stage for an enchanting little post-dinner treat.

Poached nectarines

Serves 4 | Preparation time 5 minutes | Cooking time 15 minutes WHAT YOU’LL NEED 1 cup rosé wine (red or white will also do)

4-5 cloves

4-5 cardamom pods (gently pressed in a pestle and mortar so that they crack open to release their full flavour) half a cinnamon stick 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste (essence will also do) 2-3 tbsp sugar 4 medium-sized ripe nectarines WHAT TO DO 1. In a medium-sized saucepan on medium-high heat, add the wine, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. Bring to the simmer and reduce the heat to low-medium.

2. Cut around the centre of each nectarine and pull apart into two halves. Remove the stone, and then slice each half into three or four slices.

3. Add the nectarines to the wine syrup and leave to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. Taste the syrup intermittently, checking that the sweetness is to your taste – add more sugar if needed.

4. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a good dollop of mascarpone.

Tips

* The dish can be made up to one day in advance, stored in airtight container in the fridge, and then re-heated gently before serving.

* Also works well with frozen berries direct from the freezer.

* I usually peel apples or pears before poaching, but not nectarines, peaches or figs. Sarah Graham Food Blogger, Cookbook Author, Cooking Show Host You can read more of my ramblings on my blog. You can buy my cookbook 'bitten.' in major bookstores in South Africa and online via my website.

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