Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Grilled nectarine salad with roasted chicken, feta, rocket and peanuts

This evening I had what was very nearly a perfect meal for a perfect, summer's evening.  In fact, the meal was perfect.  There were just a few things that spoiled it.

Number 1.  My dogs.  They are intent on trying to burrow their way under the fence to Percy's house.  Percy is a scruffy little white dog who lives in our bottom-of-the-garden neighbour's house.  The need to burrow is accompanied by a lot of noise.  To the outsider, they sound fierce.  With insider knowledge of my two dogs, they just want to play.  Despite being five and four they both behave like mad puppies - even in this heat.  It's really quite exhausting - if I was a dog, I'd just want to laze on the patio.  Still - it saves me from having to dig up lots of weeds.

Number 2.  The absence of a perfect man to share the evening with.  Or in lieu of him, I ate alone as the husband is off shooting vintage pinup pictures in an oilseed rape field - yellow flowers, red-haired model, blue sky.  All very arty.  If I'm honest though, I didn't mind so much that he wasn't around because there was no face pulling that I had fruit, cheese, nuts and chicken all on the one plate.  Nor complaining that I had to take a picture of my dinner first.  Or that it was too hot to eat a cooked meal (he would've had chicken and Uncle Ben's rice with gravy because it's Wednesday).  So I sat and daydreamed about having perfect company in the absence of any.  Tall, dark, handsome, rich, well mannered, eats what's put in front of him and knows how to treat a lady.   A girl can dream.

My new favourite meal, ever!
Number 3.  A chilled glass of Chablis or Prosecco.  I generally don't drink (for no reason other than I'm a lightweight) and very rarely think of having alcohol with a meal.  And I'm certainly too old to drink on a school night.  But this dish and the beautiful evening was just crying out for a little drinky to celebrate the end of a lovely day.  Well it would've been lovely if I'd not been stuck at work all day.  But you know what I mean.

So why this dish?  Well thumbing through my Leith's Simple Cookery the other day, I happened across a recipe for nectarine, feta and rocket salad.  On the way home this afternoon, I had a sudden urge to sink my teeth into a beautifully ripe, yellow-fleshed nectarine.  And with all the other ingredients at home, I figured that would be a good recipe for tonight (I failed on the planning front this week so am just picking things randomly each day).

Then, when I looked online to see if I could find a link for the recipe to put on the blog, I happened across this recipe  by The Food Fox instead.  I was utterly sold by reading the post about the lucky, lucky person who can just drive to their local farm store and buy whole boxes of fresh-off-the-tree nectarines.  I was so jealous.  I don't even want to consider how many food miles my paltry tray of four nectarines travelled.

Nectarines are right up there at the top of my favourite fruit list.  During summer I will pretty much eat nothing else on the fruit front apart from nectarines and raspberries.  Until that very sad day when you bite into a nectarine and the flesh is all furry and you realise the season is over for another year.  I love peaches too.  I'm just not a fan of the fuzzy skin.  The only downer on the nectarine front was that I could only get white-flesh ones.  The taste is great, but the salad would've looked so much better with the juice-oozy yellow-flesh fruit in amongst the pale feta and chicken.

As the blog says, the dish is an assault on the taste buds and senses.  Salty, sweet, sour, crunchy and creamy.  Every mouthful is a different experience with the punchy mustard or the salty-smooth feta, teamed with peppery rocket and crunchy peanuts.  I would eat this every night for dinner throughout the summer and would never get bored.

It's so filling too.  Sometimes I feel a bit cheated with salads simply by their virtuousness and feel that they need some degree of carbs on the side - fresh bread, minted new potatoes in their skins, a little cooled, dressed pasta.  But with this one, I honestly felt absolutely stuffed afterwards, like I'd eaten a big, fat meal and it still came in at less than 500 calories - even with peanuts thrown in.

Now off to enjoy the last of the daylight once I've added it to my make again list.  Shame I can't have it for tea tomorrow!


  1. This is such a nice read! And I feel so honoured that you used my recipe. Enjoy the warm weather that side of the world - it is very cold here in the Cape at the moment. It's our turn to make stews and soups! :)

  2. ooh wow I never think of putting things like.nectarines in salads. I will be keeping this in ny for future reference sounds delicious!


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