Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Quick foodie question: What’s the difference between a nectarine and a peach? The simple answer is: There really is none. One has fuzz and the other doesn’t. That’s it.
Nectarines are a stone fruit (it means they have a pit) that are at their peak in mid- to late summer. Depending whether the pit is free or attached to the fruit, nectarines are classified (like the peach) as “free-stone” or “clinging.” Yes, the fruits have slightly different tastes and textures, but it’s really so slight that in a peeled, blind taste test it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. They can be substituted for each other in most any recipe.
The basic facts are that the fruit is a good source of vitamins and minerals, low in calories and great in both sweet and savory dishes. I won’t bore you with anymore: Here are bunches and bunches of recipes and you can get started on your cooking.
BROWN SUGARED NECTARINES (dairy or pareve)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine
5 large nectarines (about 1 1/2 pounds), or peaches (which must be skinned)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sweetened whipped cream, whipped topping or ice cream (optional)
Set a strainer over a bowl and cut the nectarines into slices and place them the strainer. Heat the butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot add the nectarines and saute them until they start to soften and their juices reduce and begin to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of them and cook until the juices thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and cook until the juices thicken, then add any of the juice that collected in the bowl. Stir to combine and cook until the juices are very thick, which will take a minute or so. Total cook time should be 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon the nectarines into 4 individual serving dish and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Modified from Epicurious, August 2001 by Susan Herrmann Loomis.
CHICKEN AND NECTARINE SALSA (meat)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced nectarine (about 3)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, brown sugar, lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, garlic, salt cumin and pepper. Mix to coat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet heat the oil and then saute the chicken (discard liquid marinade) and onion for about 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. While the chicken is cooking in a bowl combine the nectarine, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt. Mix to combine and then gently stir in the avocado. Place the chicken and onion on a platter and serve with the salsa.
Modified from a recipe from Jennifer Martinkus, Cooking Light, July 2011.
BLUEBERRY AND NECTARINE BREAD (dairy or pareve)
Servings: 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups flour, divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside.
Combine 1/3 cup pecans, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice or nutmeg and salt. Mix just to combine and then add in the butter, eggs orange juice and orange zest. Mix to combine for 2 to 3 minutes but don’t over mix. By hand, fold in the fruit and remaining pecans.
Spoon the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for ten minutes, remove the bread from the pan and then cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes 1 loaf.
Modified from epicurious.com.
SALMON WITH FRESH NECTARINE BERRY COMPOTE (fish)
6 – 5 ounces fresh skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
4 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce
3 nectarines, pitted and chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Brush the salmon with 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce and season the salmon with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or grill cook the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes until done.
While it’s cooking, in a bowl combine the nectarines, blueberries, pecans, and the remaining barbecue sauce. Mix well, mashing the fruit slightly. Season with salt.
Serve salmon with salsa and lemon wedges.
My files, source unknown.
NECTARINE AND PISTACHIO COUSCOUS (pareve)
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 organic nectarines, diced
1 bunch chopped parsley, stems removed (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes, then take off the top and stir it. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and then set it aside.
In a large serving bowl combine the couscous, nectarines, parsley, pistachios and green onions and the dressing, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
My files, source unknown.
PECAN STUFFED NECTARINES (pareve)
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 nectarines, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
whipped cream or ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9X13 baking pan and set it aside.
In the bowl of a food processor process the pecans until they are finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the egg yolk and pulse until combined. Arrange the nectarine halves, cut sides up, in the baking pan.
Divide pecan/sugar mixture between the nectarine halves, mounding it in center of each half. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the top of the nectarines. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t let the nectarines get too soft.
Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Great served with whipped cream or ice cream.
My files, source unknown.
NECTARINE, MANGO AND AVOCADO SALAD (dairy or pareve)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream or pareve sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn into bite-size pieces
2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach
4 nectarines, sliced
2 mangos, sliced
2 avocados peeled, sliced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
smoked almonds or candied almonds for garnish
In a bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate. In a bowl combine the lettuce, onions, spinach, nectarines and mango. Toss to combine. Gently add the avocado and spoon the dressing over the top. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with the almonds.
My file, source unknown.
MOCK CRAB AND NECTARINE SALAD (fish)
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 piece peeled fresh ginger (1 1/2 inch)
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn in large pieces
1 1/2 lbs mock crab, cut into bite-size pieces
2 to 3 ripe nectarines cut in thin wedges (2 3/4 cups)
1 large ripe avocado; halved, seeded, peeled and sliced thin lengthwise
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 cup fresh basil leaves; cut in thin strips
1 small can water chestnuts, drained
In the bowl of food processor or blender combine the oil, lime juice, ginger, honey and hot sauce. Process until smooth and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, mock crab, nectarines, avocado, red onion, water chestnuts and basil. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad, toss to coat and serve.
Modified from about.com.
Certain produce requires careful examination for insects. For more information, please visit OU Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Chart and check out the newly released OU Manual for Checking Fruits and Vegetables.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Life. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.