Saturday, 24 November 2007

pickled nectarines w ricotta & prosciutto

Out of all my Thanksgiving lunch menu items, the pickled nectarines seemed to peak the most interest – so by popular demand this is my entry to WHB blogging this week.

The flavour was very interesting: there was a definite sweet, fruitiness from the fragrant, ripe nectarines but they had also adopted a light sourness.

The spices were very present: you could certainly taste the anise, cloves and ginger in the mix. The chilli didn’t register much, but I think it was there to add a gentle glow rather than a burn.

The nectarines were so easy to pickle and the most difficult part of the recipe was dabbing on the ricotta and wrapping them in prosciutto, just because it was fiddly.

They could easily be served in other ways, such as an accompaniment to roast pork or fish or even diced into cubes and turned into a salsa. I think the recipe is quite versatile.

Pickled Nectarines w Ricotta & Prosciutto
Recipe from Marie Claire’s food+drink by Michele Cranston. Makes 24.
3 large nectarines (approx 500g or 1lb)
150ml cider vinegar
2 star anise
2 cloves
1 teaspoon sliced fresh ginger
1 large red chilli
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup caster sugar
12 slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthways
250g (8oz) ricotta
1. Slice nectarines into quarters.
2. Place vinegar, sugar, star anise, cloves, ginger, chilli, salt and 300ml water into a pan and bring to the boil.
3. Warm a medium sized heat proof, sealable jar by filling it with boiling water, waiting a few minutes then draining.
4. Place nectarines in the warm jar, pour over boiling pickling liquid and seal.
5. Cool, then refrigerate for minimum of 5 days.
6. Slice nectarine quarters in half, dab with teaspoon of ricotta and wrap with prosciutto.
Anna’s Variation: I used gari (pickled Japanese ginger) instead of the fresh ginger.

Nectarines are fuzzless peach cultivars and are actually the same species as peaches. They are not, as I originally thought, a cross between a peach and some other stone fruit!

According to Wikipedia, studies have shown that nectarines are the results of recessive genes whereas the fuzzy peach skin is more dominant. It’s more common for nectarines to grow on a peach tree, but it is possible for peaches to grow on nectarine trees if it was pollinated by a peach tree. You learn things every day!

You can get both yellow and white nectarines, same as peaches, although nectarines are more susceptible to bruising without the fuzzy padding. They might look redder than peaches, but that’s just the fuzz mellowing out the peach’s colour.

My mother’s favourite fruit were peaches but she detested the skin and would actually dry wretch when she touched it (apricots too).

As a (cruel) child I would sneak up next to her and rub peaches on her arm just to see her shudder. Well, I had to get some pleasure out of it – she used to make me peel all her peaches for her!

I suppose my mother’s fuzz phobia affected me and, although I have no problem handling peaches, the thought of fuzzy peach skin on my tongue is a real problem.

For a multitude of reasons, nectarines became my favourite: I think they taste stronger and sweeter than peaches and have more fragrance.

This week our Weekend Herb Blogging host is Truffles from What's On My Plate, a fellow Aussie blogger (Melbourne) who also indulged in some stone fruit this WHB.




  1. Oh, what a fantastic appetizer dish this would be. When I read your post I realized I don't know much about nectarines. I do like them a lot more than peaches, I know that. For some reason I can't think of ever seeing nectarines grown here, although peaches are. Wonder why that is?

  2. Gorgeous picture and excellent sounding recipe. But it was the last straw -- I've been laying in bed reading WHB posts, putting off breakfast, but I finally cracked. Your pickled nectarines have all my taste buds firing and my mind demanding immediate food. I wish very much I had those nectarines RIGHT NOW!

  3. Wow, it sounds like an exotic combination.


  4. What a terrific idea — I never thought of using pickled fruit this way. I've seen a local style pickled peach that I might have to try with your recipe for our Christmas Eve dinner. Otherwise, we'll have to wait until the stone fruits are back in season in this hemisphere. : (


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