I’m fully allowed to taste the produce at Wolff’s Apple House. As their resident chef, it’s part of my job. Nevertheless, there is always a moment (right about the time I lift the fruit from the display) when it feels criminal. Like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m stealing something precious from others.
Which leads me to a confession. Earlier today, I stole something precious from you, the customer. I took it before you even got to see it, before you even knew it was there. I purloined something impeccable. I deprived you of something noteworthy. Of course, it was only a nectarine. But it was the most delicious nectarine I’d had in years.
It had been a long hot day, and slightly humid. The kitchen offered little reprieve from the sweltering heat. The pavement at Wolff’s shimmered oppressively beneath the sun, and a smattering of customers ambled slowly to their cars. I stepped down from the hot-box I’d been driving and joined their Sisyphean plight. Years passed, it seemed, before I reached the shaded refuge of the outside storefront. And when the shade came, it came with great rejoice. Looking up, I beheld not only a mountainous display of tomatoes, plums, and peaches. But an expanse of nectarines as well. It was here my eyes fell with longing. It was here the object of my solace was revealed.
I navigated over and around the other edible arrangements toward them. Apprehensively, I reached out and plucked one nectarine from the lot and tenderly bounced it in my hand. The weight of it was not deceiving. I could determine just by its girth that this fruit would be ripe, and juicy, and delicious.
(Having experienced this kind of thing at Wolff’s before, I instinctively carried the nectarine over to a sink. This is the cleanest way to eat their peaches or nectarines. And if I may include one suggestion to the uninformed customer, it’s this: Eat their nectarines over the sink, and roll up your sleeves. Because it’s anyone’s guess as to how juicy they will be.)
I plunged a knife into the nectarine’s flesh and cut a straight line completely around its longitude. Then, making another slice, I singled out one wedge and raised it greedily to my mouth…It was just as I had hoped. It was perfectly ripe, and tender, and sweet, and juicy. And if I could have licked my elbows clean, I would have.
Every week, Wolff’s is busy bringing in the best of summer’s bounty. From all over the surrounding area, we’re gathering tomatoes, peaches, plums, berries, melons, and all manner of edibles. Included on that list are nectarines. Right now Wolff’s has a pile of perfectly ripe and delicious Sunglo and Arctic Glo nectarines from Franklinville, New Jersey. They’re ready for snacking or using in any sort of recipe. Such as this sweet and savory concoction:
Field Green Salad with Grilled Nectarines, Blue Cheese and Toasted Pecans
2 ripe Nectarines, halved and pitted
1/4 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup Pecans, toasted and salted
1/3 pound Salanova organic Salad Mix
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic clove, minced
Get a medium-high fire going in the grill.
Whisk the vinegar,
mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
Halve and pit the nectarines,
Place them on the grill flesh side down, and leave them there for 3 minutes.
Flip, and continue grilling for another minute or two.
(If you like, include a sprig of fresh thyme on the grill for the remaining couple minutes. The slightly charred leaves can be picked off and whisked into the dressing)
While the nectarines are grilling, toss the garden mix with the vinaigrette. Then sprinkle the slightly cooled nectarines evenly with the blue cheese
Serve everything together on a platter.
- 2 ripe Nectarines, halved and pitted
- ¼ cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup Pecans, toasted and salted
- ⅓ pound Salanova organic Salad Mix
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- pinch Salt
- pinch Pepper
- Get a medium-high fire going in the grill.
- Whisk the vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Halve and pit the nectarines, and brush them with oil.
- Place them on the grill flesh side down, and leave them there for 3 minutes.
- Flip, and continue grilling for another minute or two.
- (If you like, include a sprig of fresh thyme on the grill for the remaining couple minutes. The slightly charred leaves can be picked off and whisked into the dressing)
- While the nectarines are grilling, toss the garden mix with the vinaigrette. Then sprinkle the slightly cooled nectarines evenly with the blue cheese and pecans.
- Serve everything together on a platter.