I love peaches and had never eaten a nectarine until I was in my 30s. A nectarine is basically just a fuzzless peach, the fuzzy skin governed by a single allele of their genome. Nectarines are slightly smaller and supposedly a little more aromatic than peaches, and I’m transported by the ripe smell of both. Any way you look at it, if you like peaches, you’ll like nectarines.
Peaches came from Persia (present day Iran) and from there migrated to Europe, and were brought to North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
Here is a recipe originally made with peaches but equally good with nectarines.
SWEET AND SPICY NECTARINE (PEACH) SUNDAE
(From the Magnolia Grill, a wonderful restaurant in Durham that closed this year)
1 lb frozen sliced peaches, thawed (can used diced fresh peaches)
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tbsp prepared hot pepper jelly (I use quite a bit more, since it is not spicy with this amount)
1/8th tsp ground cinnamon
1/8th tsp cayenne pepper (I used hot pepper flakes)
8 pecan shortbread cookies, crumbled
Breyer’s peach or vanilla ice cream
½ cup whipped cream
Bring peaches, sugar, hot pepper jelly, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to a boil over medium heat in a 2 quart saucepan.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently until peaches release their juices and are heated through. Cool to room temp.
- To serve, arrange 1 crumbled cookie into each serving dish, top with peach sauce, then ice cream.
- Sprinkle with remaining crumbled cookies and drizzle on more peach sauce. Garnish with whipped cream.