Even after all this time, the revelation that a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable holds wonder for kids first learning things botanical, because kids pick up right away on the ways we use food in cooking; some things are for dinner, some things are for dessert. Without knowing it or meaning it, our associations with sweet and savory dishes speak loud and clear and create that sense of surprise when you find that what goes in spaghetti goes by the same street name as what goes in pie (that is not pizza pie).
In this article, my aim is to show that the unexpected can be a boon in the kitchen. I don’t want to show you how to make a tomato cobbler, but to use our exceptional local stone fruits in preparations that you might not have conceived—or perhaps you have, and will be generous enough to write in with your own recipe!
Grilled Chicken and Peach Couscous with Basil and Pecans
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 medium-to-large peaches, ripe but not dead ripe
- 6 large leaves basil
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, whole or pieces
- 2/3 cup couscous
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Start by heating the grill or griddle you’ll be using to high. Season the chicken breasts generously and set aside. Wash the peaches and cut in half, removing the pit. Dredge in sugar.
Place the sugared peaches cut side down on the grill or griddle and allow them to take on a good deal of color, even to the point of charring a little. This is why you want peaches that aren’t dead ripe—they need some structure to cook well under these circumstances. Allow to cook until tender, then remove from heat and set aside. Clean grill or griddle.
Grill chicken until browned or marked on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Lower heat and finish chicken on grill (about 6-8 minutes)
While the chicken is finishing, make your couscous. Bring water to a boil, add olive oil and some salt and pepper and lemon zest. Add couscous, cover and turn off heat. Let stand 8 minutes. Stir in pecans.
To present: Cut the chicken and peaches into bite sized pieces and toss with chopped basil. Serve over couscous and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the dish as it goes to table
And this summer pasta….
Door County Cherry Fusilli with Black Pepper, Almonds and Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2–3/4 lb. golden cherries, very ripe, washed and pitted
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2-3 oz. parmigiano-reggiano, cut into small cubes or shaved (not grated, please)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 12 oz. fusilli
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
- Salt to taste
Directions: Start by getting 4 quarts of well-salted water on the stove for pasta. Get a sauté pan 10” or larger very hot and add the pitted cherries. Saute quickly, over high heat, until they just start to break down. Turn off the heat, wait 90 seconds, then add sherry vinegar and butter and toss. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions, saving 1/2 cup of hot pasta water before draining. Drain pasta and toss with all ingredients, adding water as needed to create a fluid (but not wet) consistency. Add butter and salt to taste and season generously with fresh ground pepper. Serve warm, not hot.
Good luck with your summer stone fruit cooking!