Sunday, 7 July 2013

Nectarine Daydream

Insalata Mista con Nocepesca alla Griglia
Mixed Salad with Grilled Nectarine

It is Summertime and it is all about grilling... except I don't have a garden, a terrace... or a grill! Oh the joys of living in a 2-room city apartment! But what I do have is a grill-pan and that just has to do! And of course it is not the same, but still, you can have some fun with a stove top skillet... as I did today when I made this fun salad!

This is a great way to get some flavor into un-ripe or bland tasting nectarines or peaches- give them a good blast of heat, let the natural sugars out of the fruit and give them a nice, caramelized scorching to up the flavor a little more- it's a good thing, trust me!

It is still a little early for good nectarines- but I was impatient! So what? Well... so they were a little too firm and a little too plain tasting to enjoy today. To make matters worse, they were of the type that do not like to let go of the stone- you know the ones?! You cut into them, then try doing that half-twist to remove the stone and the whole thing turns into as squishy, fibrous mess. So now I will tell you how I got around both of those problems!

Number one- to remove the fruit from the stone, I made a v-cut into the nectarine, the size of the slice I wanted and waggled my knife back and forth in the cut in order to loosen the slice up, and being as the cut was so close together in the middle the slice lifted out quite easily. I then made another cut right down to the stone and waggled that single slice away too... and so on until I had prepared the whole thing. 

Next, I got the griddle nice and hot and added a little pat of clarified butter and spread it around. I laid the nectarine slices on the the hot pan and pressed them down firmly with a wooden spatula. I then added just a quick sprinkle of water, which immediately turned to a little cloud of steam, which both went to partially cook the slices, but also to make scraping them off the griddle easier. Over they went for a second round of heat and a little more butter, just to give them a nice glaze... finished!

I arranged the nectarine slices on a bed of both romaine and arugula, with some sliced cucumber and tomato. The dressing was white balsamico and olive oil, with a little honey, salt, pepper and lime juice- you can't get much more basic than that... but it was a perfect Summer salad! I just hope the Summer will stay with us for a while longer! 

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