Summer Peach Chutney
It's summer! I know I'm not alone when I say my favorite thing about summer is summer produce. Cherries and strawberries - for me they are take it or leave it (I know, blasphemy to some), but PEACHES, PLUMS, NECTARINES, APRICOTS...summer stone fruit is my everything.
I love how versatile stone fruit is. Stone fruit shines in sweet and simple applications like tarts, galettes, jam, and even just paired with whip or ice cream. It fares equally well, if not even better, in savory applications - jams can be whipped with soy sauce and mirin to make an Asian-inspired marinade; peaches and nectarines on white pizzas or flatbreads are divine; and of course, stone fruit make their way into summer chutneys. Sweet balances spice, and the addition of acid and alliums take chutneys from a jam to something entirely different.
I've had two lovely opportunities to share my fruit chutneys with the Bay Area this summer. One, at a workshop with Real Food Real Stories, celebrating Gold Dust Peaches from Masumoto Family Farms. This beautiful, super sweet, succulent varietal of peach has been ignored by markets, deemed unacceptable because of their (slightly) smaller size. However, these peaches are nothing short of heavenly. You know that incredible moment every summer when you bite into a peach, and juice drips down your chin? These peaches were so incredibly juicy, and that moment started barely after I pierced the peach with my teeth. Sweetness was off the charts, and I was so hesitant to make a chutney with these beauties - I didn't want to hide the beauty of this fruit! But the lovely thing about chutneys? You can improvise easily, and work to enhance the starring character of the chutney, instead of hiding it with too many spices, too many onions, and too much sweetness or acidity. The chutney below has just the right amount of spice for 'regular' peaches, but if you're using a special varietal, take it down just a notch.
Then, I was invited by the lovely Renee at Laurel Street Kitchen, to share these summer chutneys with her followers. I loved meeting Renee - she is married to an Indian man, and honestly I can't imagine more of a dream for her in-laws, since she has embraced Indian cuisine and spices wholeheartedly. We have two key things in common: a love for spices, and a love for clean California cooking! We cook so similarly, and it's wonderful to connect with someone who has a similar perspective on food. Check out our facebook Live here.
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
¾ shallot, sliced into thin rounds
½ tbsp minced ginger
3 dates, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
2 pods green cardamom
1 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2-3 tsp espelette chili powder
Saute grapeseed oil on low-med heat with shallots, until shallots are deeply browned and caramelized. This may take up to 10 minutes. Add minced ginger and chopped dates after 5 minutes of cooking shallots, and saute for at least another 3 minutes. Again, over low-med heat. Add chopped dates. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds ,cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon stick, and saute for 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add chili powder & diced peaches, stir, then add rice wine vinegar and cook down for 10-15 minutes. Add salt, and cook until desire consistency reached (probably 10 more minutes – still chunky, but soft and spreadable.
Use chutney with fish, chicken, or steak. Spread on fish and bake, marinate chicken drumsticks and grill, pair with a grilled steak. Would also be great with big white beans, on top of roasted carrots, or as a condiment on burgers or veggie burgers! Enjoy this one this summer!