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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grilled Nectarines with Black Pepper

The produce available in Hawaii is so different from what I can easily obtain in San Francisco. As far as fruit goes in Hawaii, you can get big fat papayas (grown locally), sweet sticky mangoes that drip with juice (sometimes these are still from Mexico or Chile—shocking, I know!), and perfect pineapple (usually grown locally). Maui is famous for its Kula strawberries and Sweet Kula Onions—the high elevation (up to about 4,000 feet!) up on the slope of the Haleakala volcano provides the harmonious combo of warm days and cool nights and the conditions are just right for this kind of produce. (There’s also plenty of other theories like the fact that the soil is low in sulfur, which apparently makes things more bitter and starchy). Some claim that Kula onions are so sweet that you can eat them like an apple!

But, papayas and strawberries aside, you still have to give up the desire for tender nectarines, amazing peaches, blackberries, blueberries, plums and apricots. For the most part those sorts of fruits do not make it to the islands in their best condition. Now, I have never lived in peach, nectarine and berry heaven also known as Oregon or Washington, but I always imagined that, if I did, I would constantly stuff my face with ripe nectarines, berry jams, and peach pies. If push came to shove, nectarines might just be my favorite fruit—especially white nectarines that are perfectly ripe and supple to the touch and so juicy that you have to stand over the sink to eat them. I would eat four or five a day if I could. Luckily, summer season brings these fruits right to my local farmers market in the city.

Most days, I don’t fuss with fruit—I eat it straight as nature intended. I don’t mix it in with flour and sugar and bake pies or blend it up with yogurt in smoothies. But since summer also coincides with “grilling season,” I thought I would keep it simple and grill some nectarines to get just the slightest touch of roasted flavor. It’s so simple that this can’t even qualify as a recipe really, but more of a gentle reminder to throw some peaches or nectarines on the grill! Slice them in half, gently remove the seed with the edge of a knife, brush them with a little neutral or flavored oil—such as grapeseed, canola, walnut, or olive oil—sprinkle a tiny amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and place them face down on the grill for just a minute or two or until slightly charred.
Serving suggestion: These are also delicious with a balsamic reduction or fruit vinegar glaze.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

aloha MORGAn