All about peach > Sweet, juicy, and with a modest red blush, peaches are a summer favorite
explains Chef Craig Shelton
They are classified as stone fruits because they contain a single pit or stone, instead of a core with multiple seeds as in apples and pears.
"New Jersey white peaches are the best tasting peaches on the planet, " says Craig Shelton. Although not as big a producer of peaches as other states, New Jersey has a long history of peach-growing dating back to the early 1600's and for many growers, peach production is a family tradition. Chef Shelton buys his peaches from Mellick's farm, a few miles away in Tewksbury.
"There are traditional recipes like peach melba, but aromatic and buttery-textured peaches make a perfect complement to crisp and tangy salad greens, " he says. Peaches have an affinity with a range of spices and herbs, as demonstrated by Chef Shelton in his langoustine salad with salsify, green almonds and kumquats flavored with caraway seed, bay leaf, thyme and peach pectin.
"Peach pectin is made by poaching peaches in a sealed plastic bag in water at 280°C (140° F) for three to four hours, or until the peaches become jelly-like," he explains. He got the idea for this salad from the flavors he tasted in a Condrieu wine from the northern Rhone valley (made from viognier grapes). "The wine is so evocative of peach blossoms, acacia and tropical fruits like oranges and kumquats, I was inspired to apply that yin/yang combination to a salad," he says. To further enhance the aroma of the salad, he sprays it with rose water as it leaves the kitchen. It is served, of course, with Condrieu, from Andre Perret.
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