Local & Seasonal Cooking
with Rita Calvert
Stone fruits—peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and plums—are some of the great mouth-watering joys of summer. They are packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals plus they are low in calories. Stone fruits are super fruits, with plums as emerging stars. One of the benefits found is that plums inhibit breast cancer growth in lab cells. Now is the time to get your fill because the height of the season will soon be upon us.
For ease in separating the halves, the free-stone varieties come into season later and are well worth the wait.
Peach Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette
Any of the stone fruits work with sweet or savory preparations. This salad is a winner as the succulent white nectarines pair beautifully with the lemon thyme dressing. The thinly sliced salad turnips-no they ARE NOT radishes, give a great crunch along with the hazelnuts.
- 3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges
- 3 cups baby lettuces (mesclun)
- Salad turnips, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces fresh chevre, crumbled
In a large bowl, toss together nectarine slices, mesclun, sliced turnips and hazelnuts.
Put vinegar, lemon thyme, salt and pepper in a mason jar, blender or food processor and combine until smooth.
If using the jar with an immersion blender, puree while slowly adding the olive oil.
Divide peach salad among serving plates and drizzle with the fresh vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the chevre crumbles.
Grilled Stone with Balsamic Glaze and Gorgonzola
Just because I found them fresh and at Grauls Market, I decided to add a simple dessert to the grilling class I conducted recently. It turned out these grilled jewels were the hit of the class as the flavors couldn’t be more perfect together. Three ingredients are all you need here – amazing! The trick here is to add the room temperature gorgonzola while the peaches are hot.
- Peaches, scrubbed and cut in half
- Balsamic Glaze
- Crumbled gorgonzola (or blue cheese), at room temperature
Light the grill to high heat.
Place the prepared peach halves on a tray (to carry to the grill) with cut side up. When the grill is hot, drizzle the peaches with the balsamic glaze. Quickly place glaze-side down on the grill. Sear until nicely browned. Immediately place on a serving plate and sprinkle with gorgonzola so that it melts.
Stone Fruit Salsa on Salmon
Here you go with a savory treatment for stone fruit. For this very fresh salsa I used a lot of what was happening from my kitchen and herb garden. You can interchange any other stone fruit here. Serve it with seafood as I love it, or with chips, beans, or in sandwiches or just by the spoonful!
- 2 white nectarines, diced
- 1/2 diced cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup diced red tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced orange tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic chives, thinly sliced
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for 20 minutes to let season before serving.
With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.