Last weekend on the way to the beach, Keith and I fell for the age old trap of the roadside fruit stall. Let's buy peaches, we thought, we can enjoy them while we sit on the beach. It'll be fun, the kids will drop them, we'll do endless trips to the sea to rinse sand off them and wash faces sticky from peach juice.
In reality, I bought a punnet of slightly fuzzy cricket balls which sat on my lap in unyielding smugness while we drove to the beach, and back.
You know the drill with these fruit: You take them home, put them in a bag with a banana, or on the windowsill and they spend the next five days not ripening before going mouldy on the sixth day.
Well not this time, my friends! I'll be damned if I'm going to be beaten by stone fruit!
Poached Peach Salad
- Disappointing peaches from a roadside stall, two per person
- 1 tbsp dried tyme
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 Glass White Wine
- Soy Sauce
- Agave Syrup
- 1 Lettuce
- 1/2 Bulb Fennel
- Olive Oil
There are no measurements with some elements of this recipe because remember, we are trying to salvage fruit stall disasters. Some may be sharp, some might be bitter, some might defy the laws of nature and manage to be sweet and juiceless (how, HOW does this happen?!?). The key here is to taste and adjust, taste and adjust, until you have the right result.
- Halve the peaches. If they are so under ripe that you can't de-stone them without losing a finger, or turning them into baby food, get an extra sharp knife and cleave them straight through their stony little hearts. You can remove the stone halves easily later.
- Place the peaches in a saucepan with the star anise, the dried thyme and wine. If needed, add a little more wine, or a little water until the liquid comes to the top of the fruit.
- Bring to the boil, clamp a lid down and reduce to a simmer. Depending on the state of your fruit, you could have to wait between 10 and 45 minutes for them to cook through so get comfy, but keep an eye on them.
- Once soft, gently remove the fruit and put into a colander. Get a tea spoon and take out any stones that you left in earlier.
- Put the poaching liquor back on the heat and bring to a simmer to reduce. When it starts to thicken, add agave syrup until it is slightly on the too sweet side. Then add soy sauce, one teaspoon at a time until you get a nice balance of sweet and salty.
- Shred the lettuce and the fennel and put into a serving dish.
- Get out your griddle pan, open all your doors and windows and stick on a high heat.
- Chase the dog back into the house after he escapes out of the open back door to make friends with the neighbour.
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto the cut side of each peach, spread about and when the pan is smoking hot, take your last breathe of smoke free air and get them grilling.
- Arrange the peaches on the leaves and drizzle your dressing on as artistically as you like.
I'm not claiming I have invented fire or anything, but anything involving foliage and my son refilling his plate three times has to have something a little bit special about it.