Sweet and juicy, with a texture that is just the perfect combination of smooth and pulpy chewable goodness. (recipe)
It’s that time of year when the fruit selection is broadening and one of my favorites on the scene is the nectarine. Interestingly, peaches and nectarines are supposedly from the same family, even potentially can come from the same tree depending on a recessive gene situation, but I find them to be totally different to my palate. Not least, because of the obvious non-fuzzy quality of the nectarine, but also because, to me, their flavor and mouthfeel are entirely different.
From a culinary perspective, nectarines can compliment both sweet and savory dishes and add a dimension that will delight the palate. Nectarines sautéed and reduced can add just the right bit of complexity to game or other savory dishes that have a substantial texture and mouthfeel. As sweet option, they fit in, quite deliciously, anywhere that any stone fruit would fit. To me nectarines are not quite as sweet as peaches so I find them more inviting to my palate.
From a health perspective, fruit sometimes gets a bad rap because of the higher sugar content, however, when eaten as the whole fruit, you also get the pectin, the fiber, and any other nutrients, enzymes, etc that come in the whole fruit package. Eating the whole nectarine (except for the pit, of course) provides you with some amazing benefits to your health. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are a great source of potassium, iron, zinc, copper and phosphorous. Remember that potassium helps lower blood pressure, prevents heart disease and is a main participant in nerve to muscle communication. Nectarines are also a great source of vitamins B, A, and E, which can help with things like bone and tissue strength and repair, as well as, boosting immune function. Nectarines also are a rich source of flavonols like zea-thanthine which helps prevent eye issues like macular degeneration.
One of my all time favorite ways to eat nectarines (besides baked in a tart of straight off the seed) is this full flavor salad:
- 6 nectarines, sliced
- 1 TBS dry white wine
- dash or two of tabasco or other hot sauce
- dash or two of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBS fresh cilantro, minced
Mix all the liquid ingredients and then toss with the nectarine slices. It’s spicy and sweet and savory, just right for a summer pick me up.