This dish is a savoury take on a dessert that goes back to my childhood, in the years before globalization ensured that our supermarkets had every kind of seasonal fruit available throughout the year. Peaches and cream were a stock dessert then, easy to make because most often the peaches came out of a can. This recipe combines the sweetness of fresh, summer peaches with the tartness of balsamic vinegar and the creaminess of ricotta to create a dish that flirts with the borderlines of savoury and sweet.

Ricotta-Peaches - Final

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves four

Ingredients:

4 ripe peaches

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small pot of fresh ricotta

1 packet of fresh chives

24 hazelnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and place the hazelnuts on a baking tray in it for about 10 minutes (make sure they turn just golden but do not let them brown too much). Take them out when done and let them cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Add a sprinkle of salt and some black pepper to this.
  3. Wash and slice the peaches in half and remove the stone. Place them face up in a dish and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic dressing over them. Place this in the oven at 200C for about 18 minutes.
  4. Slice the whole packet of chives finely and mix this into the ricotta. Season the ricotta and chive mixture with salt and pepper.
  5. Check that the peaches have cooked through by testing them with a sharp knife. They should yield, but also retain some firmness. When they are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit.
  6. Spoon the ricotta and chive mixture onto each half of a peach.
  7. Top each half of a peach with three shelled hazelnuts and serve. An easy way to shell hazelnuts is by rubbing them in some kitchen towel or with a tea towel.

Notes

A variant would be to use mint leaves instead of chives.

To serve as a simple but tasty starter, place the peaches on a bed of lightly dressed babyleaf salad, sprinkled with a few extra roasted hazelnuts. To make the dressing, we simply doubled the amount of olive oil and balsamic dressing we made and then tossed this with the salad leaves.

© Taste Trail Limited, 2014