Luscious, guilt-free summer stone fruit – By Jenny Morris

Luscious, guilt-free summer stone fruit – By Jenny Morris

Smooth skinned, sweet, luscious, fragrant, juicy and delicious – the nectarine is related to the peach, and like the peach, it too originated in China and from there spread to Central Asia and Persia and on to Europe through the ancient silk route.
This yummy stone fruit is low in calories and contains no saturated fats, and is also packed with lots of health promoting anti-oxidants and plant nutrients. Nectarines are also said to be a healthy source of B-complex vitamins. On top of that, it’s a good source of niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, and pyridoxine. And then on top of that, the nectarine I’m told contains an appropriate ratio of minerals and electrolytes such as potassium, iron, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
All of this makes me really happy, because I’m going to be guzzling this wonderful fruit this summer, and now I can do it with no guilt – that I like!
Although nectarines are delicious served just as they are, they are also very versatile and are great sliced into fruit salads. They make a great jam, are delicious in savoury salads and are wonderful roasted and piled onto a baked cheese cake. So, go nuts in the coming months!

Let’s cook!
Grilled Nectarine and Goats Cheese Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 4 firm ripe nectarines, stoned and halved
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbls Brown sugar
  • 1 baby gem lettuce sliced
  • 50g wild rocket
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 120g Parma ham
  • 120g chevin (goats cheese)
  • 1 tbls toasted pinenuts (optional)

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leave
  • 1 clove garlic, finely crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small red chill diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 10 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Shake all the ingredients together and spoon over the salad.
Brush the nectarines with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; sprinkle over a little brown sugar.
Heat a griddle pan till very hot, brush with a little olive oil and place the nectarines cut side down onto the pan. Grill till grill lines appear remove and continue to assemble the salad.
Arrange the lettuce and half the rocket onto a platter, place the grilled nectarines onto that and then garnish with the parma ham, chevin and remaining rocket, spoon over the dressing, scatter over the pinenuts and serve immediately.

Tip: You can use smoked chicken, ham, bacon or smoked beef instead of parma ham.
Any lettuce will do if you can’t find baby gem lettuce, but the baby gem has a wonderful texture.

© Jenny Morris 2014