Thursday, August 5, 2010

Peach Salsa with Ruffled Basil

Upon our return from the road trip to the land of maple leaves and maple syrup I was craving something fresh, seasonal and inspiring. Do not think for a minute we did not enjoy beautiful meals in Canada, but as always I miss my kitchen after a few days , and I enjoy creating something with a Gourmet Goddess twist.

As you can imagine we are in the peak season of stone fruit and there is abundant basil in the gardens ..... I get inspiration just looking at the raw ingredients . Firstly, I love stone fruit , I anxiously await the arrival of apricots , peaches and nectarines every summer. My only proviso is that the fruit is firm and not soft and squishy ( we all have our quirks).

After visiting my fresh market I saw peaches that beckoned me , merely with their heavy scent and gorgeous colour . Having sampled fruit salsa during several trips to Whole Foods ( you know the pineapple and serrano pepper one ..... next to the guacamole bar !!!) , I thought it was now time for the Gourmet Goddess to give her spin on a summer staple.

My basil crop was abundant and thriving , the classic green genovese basil perfumed the patio area with its intoxicating aroma . I also planted purple "ruffled" basil this year and I have to say I was surprised by its intense aroma and flavour . I would not consider making a pesto out of this - the colour would put me off. However it was perfect for salads or salsa , because it could stand up better to the rigors of home made dressings and did not turn black and or taste bitter. The leaf was much thicker than your classic green basil and unlike thai basil ( which is also purple leaf coloured) this had a very intense basil aroma and taste - therefore a little went a long way .

This salsa was enjoyed with some grilled pork tenderloin and baby potatoes. It should be a sinch to put together as almost eveything in it should be pantry staples. If you are able to buy yellow and white peaches from your farmers markets - that would also be a great combination and look equally colourful . Of course, it held up well in the fridge for a couple of days and tasted even better on day 2 .

Please hit the farmers markets and enjoy the seasonal bounty upon us - this would also taste delicious with some blue corn chips and an ice cold beer on the patio ........ it is truly delicious.

Peach Salsa with Ruffled Basil
a GG original recipe

2 yellow and or white peaches
1/2 cup finely dices red onion
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
small handful of fresh basil - green and or ruffled - chiffonade
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper - a couple of twists of the pepper mill
1-2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
finely diced serrano chili or jalapeno peppers ( optional and to taste)

Wash and dry the fruit and proceed to dice in a small to medium size . Add the onion and bell pepper along with the fresh basil chiffonade ( you can substitiute flat leaf parsley if you do not have basil) . Toss to combine - the mixture should look colourful , you can adjust any of the ingredients to your taste .

Add a few sprinkles of sea salt , I recommend Maldon it is brand I have been using for years it is a finishing salt and it is surprising how it makes the peaches taste more like peaches .

White balsamic vinegar is readily available and it adds a beautiful sharpness and sweetness to the dish , add one teaspoon at a time and balance this with olive oil .

Allow the dish to develop it flavours , toss occassionally and the peaches will release their own sweetness with time.

Enjoy with grilled meats, tossed in some cous cous , quinoa or orzo pasta .

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