Friday, July 2, 2010

Warm Nectarine Compote

Hello All!
 Sorry it's been a few weeks, June is always a busy month, as I'm sure you all know. Tomorrow I depart for my family's annual vacation at Lake George in the Adirondacks. You may remember Lake George from my post last year regarding our Vermonster adventure:

   I wanted to be sure to get a post in before I left, and I'm sure I'll have all manner of things to blog about when I get back. Last weekend I was visited by Zach and our dear friends Brande and Dan. We had an impromptu cookout in my backyard :) D&B brought some lovely nectarines, and our original intention was to grill them. But, when we began to slice them up, we realized that they didn't really have the structural integrity necessary for grilling. So, on a whim, I wondered aloud if perhaps pan sauteing them and serving them as a warm compote over ice-cream would be a good idea. Intrepid kitchen adventurers like myself, they agreed :)

   What followed was, forgive the hyperbole, sublime. I know I probably say this a lot in this blog, but I can't believe this recipe hadn't occurred to me before. What resulted was a fruit flavored cousin to Affogato (an amazing Italian dessert wherein one pours espresso, or, in my case, hot cocoa, over ice cream). The hot/cold/slightly melted/slightly smoky/slightly sweet combination of fruit sauteed in brown butter over vanilla ice cream was kinda ridiculous, in the good way. And, it was so freakin' simple, I almost feel bad calling this a recipe and passing it off like I *made* this, when I really just *combined* it. But here ya go:)

 But first, a few things:
-This will work with any ripe or slightly over-ripe stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, etc), it would probably work with pineapple too; anything that will caramelize nicely. Obviously, this will work with apples, but then we're in applesauce territory, which, to me, will always say Autumn, not Summer. So, we'll tackle apple stuff in a few months:)

- If you notice that the photography is better than usual, that's because I had someone with actual photographic talent take pictures for me this time. Brande has quite a knack for food photography, and was kind enough to take pictures and be my awesome kitchen assistant. It's amazing how much easier it is to illustrate the step-by-step process when you have someone to take pictures for you and you don't have to stop and do it yourself :) Anyone interested to being my photo assistant? Thank you again, Brande, you're wonderful :)

Warm Nectarine Compote
-4-6 nectarines, coarsely chopped
-2tbsp butter (salted is fine, it's what I used)
-approx. 1 tsp vanilla extract (I poured a capful from the bottle,so, that's about a teaspoon, eyeball it)
-1 good handful of brown sugar, or to taste

- Melt butter in saute pan large enough to accomodate nectarines over medium or medium low heat. Let the butter get brown, but don't let it scorch (in the pictures you will see the butter changing color and get an idea of what I mean).
- Combine the nectarines, vanilla, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. When the butter has turned light brown, add the nectarines
 - Saute nectarines in the butter until they soften and begin to break up, and the butter turns a deep, rich brown. Don't let the nectarines get all the way to mush, they'll taste fine, but it won't look as good, they won't be the same contrast between the ice cream and the fruit.
                                                      - Pour Nectarine Compote over vanilla ice cream and serve immediately:)

I'm still having a lot of trouble getting the the pictures to go where I want, so if anyone could give me a tutorial on that, I'd really appreciate it:)  Eat this outside at a picnic table with your friends, like I did, and Life will be Sweet. Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!!! See you soon!!!
Lynn :)