September 16, 2005
white phoenix and gold on the table
O peaches, a beauty of summer - here they have started being replaced by autumn bounties while things kept me busy, so I have to rush, rush, rush to savor the fruits while I can. Because I love them. I love peaches!
When I lived in Hawaii, one of the many things I would miss a lot was peaches. There were a bunch of peaches sold everywhere, of course, but none really rivaled what we have in Japan when it comes to eating them raw, except maybe the ones I got from Colorado in one summer.
Peaches sold in here are generally large, juicy, sweet, mellow, scrumptious, delicious, you get the idea. And sure, they can be quite a luxury; one handsome, large white peach could cost $10 or more if you choose a high-end store. Most of them are of course a lot cheaper, but they still are a sort of fruits that can make you feel that you are eating something special.
Back in the day, when you were looking for fresh peaches in Japan, you'd only see white ones; I don't think as a kid I ever saw yellow peaches anywhere except in heavy syrup in a can. I don't know where they came from, but fresh yellow peaches were never available until recently, and as far as I know, it is in the last decade or so that fresh yellow peaches have become accessible. And yellow-fleshed peaches we have in here are a variety named ogon-to, or literally, golden peach. I have heard that they are a sort of hybrid with white kind, and they really do taste like juicy and tender white peaches while distinctively retaining the apricot- or nectarine- like flavor and firm flesh of a yellow peach. I love them as much as regular white kind, and it has made me happy that the golden peaches are now commonly available everywhere.
While I can't really afford a 10-buck peach, I do manage to treat myself with pretty ones once in a while. I got those white and yellow cuties in mid August (which is about a month ago, oh well...). This variety of white peach is named haku-ho or white phoenix; gold and phoenix nestled in styrofoam nets, now you might get some idea of how they are treated in this country.
Like I have said, they both are made to consume raw, and that is what most people undoubtedly do. So did I.
They tasted exactly like they appear to - perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy. I could have eaten them up like this, but part of me wanted to give them a little twist, and so I went with this:
Broiled peaches with kiwi coulis, for which I got an inspiration from one recipe. There is nothing particularly new about cooking peaches, but it seemed interesting to me to pair them with kiwi fruits like this.
Now I only got the ideas from the recipe, and made several changes. First, I broiled the fruits rather than pan-frying them like suggested in the original recipe. I thought the peaches here would be too soft to get pan-fried for five long minutes, so I cut them into thick wedges, sprinkled them with some brown sugar and broiled for a few minutes. Second, I didn't mix up kiwi and mint - I simply stuck a spring of mint into a mixture of lightly crushed kiwi flesh and sugar, just to add a hint of mint to the coulis and discarded it after several minutes. I also served mascarpone cheese along with the fruits.
I was happy with the result of my experiment; beneath the only slightly burned and caramelized surface of the peach slices was mostly fresh flesh, to which the cold, minty fresh kiwi coulis added a nice contrast. I imagine this would make a pleasant after-dinner treat in summer - ah well, it is almost gone by now. (And I have still been chasing the last bits of peaches while they are around, so stay tuned.)
posted by chika at: 9/16/2005 03:16:00 AM