Tuesday, August 07, 2007
You don't have to go to Georgia to enjoy a fresh peach. No, in LA you just need a little patch of dirt, some sunshine, a baby sapling, and about 8 or 9 years. Oh, and the right amount of "chill hours" each winter to set the fruit.
Luxuriating in the peachy bounty our little tree has offered us of late, may I suggest we raise our Bellini glasses in a hearty cheers. The Bellini--a signature drink made from a combination of fresh white peach puree and Prosecco--is the creation of Giuseppi Cipriani at his infamous Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, where white peaches were fragrant and plentiful. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles were said to have held court among others sipping this delightful nectar, finding inspiration in its bounty amidst the grandeur of the canals.
Our homegrown yellow peaches make a delightful version. Sweet and perfumey, slightly tart and effervescent, the Bellini is a delightful summer sipper. And with one of those handheld stick blender gizmos, fresh peach puree is a snap to make. Just don't forget to skin the peaches first.
But another amazing discovery is the Peachy Chicken I referenced a post ago.
Take one whole chicken roaster, rinsed and patted dry. Place in a roasting pan. Slide a few pats of butter under the breast skin and slather with a good dose of (homemade) peach jam or preserves. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Then, chop up 3 or 4 celery stalks and a red onion in large chunks and add to the pan, scatter in a handful of garlic cloves in their skins, and finish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and/or Italian parsley.
Slide the sucker into a 375 degree oven and roast for about an hour and a half, basting frequently.
The skin deepens and caramelizes from the peach sugars, but as the veggies break down and give off their juices, their aromatic flavors tame everything to a mellow roasty balance of sweet and savory.
Served hot or cold, this one is a winner. And don't toss those veggies. I eat them straight out of the pan standing over the stove as a "cook's treat." In fact, next time I think I'll add 2 red onions and more cloves of garlic to serve on the side of the sliced chicken.