Sunday, August 07, 2011

Poached Peaches and Bellini

Juicy peaches are one of the simplest pleasures that Summer can brings. They are wonderful finger fruit, but they are also a great addition to almost any dish. A simple green salad can become luscious with some roasted peaches; a cheese plate is more inviting with the addition of the fruit; even a drink can become more exciting with a bit of peach puree. In this issue I wanted to share with you two very easy peach recipes to enjoy their refreshing flavor during the hot summer days: Poached Peaches in Prosecco (Italian version of champagne); and the Bellini, a famous Italian cocktail made with Prosseco and peach puree. The Bellini, was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry's Bar in Venice. Cipriani named his cocktail after the famous Italian painter Giovanni Bellini. He thought the color of the drink matched the color Bellini used in one of his famous paintings for a saint's toga. The Bellini has become one of the most famous and popular of all sparkling wine cocktails in Italy.

When buying peaches, choose plump, firm fruit with orange-yellow color. Avoid green fruit which will not ripen.

When the fruit feels soft to the touch it is fully ripe and should be eaten as soon as possible. If you are not going to consume immediately, you can store ripe peaches in the refrigerator where they may keep for up to a week. However, hard peaches should be stored at room temperature in paper bag to let them ripen for a day or two.

Poach Peaches
• 6 firm yellow- or white-fleshed peaches, cut in half
• 1 bottle Prosecco
• 2 cups water
• 3/4 cup sugar

In a saucepan large enough to hold all the peaches in a single layer, combine the Prosecco, the water, and the sugar. Bring it to a boil.
Lower the heat and add the peaches and simmer until barely tender, around 5-10 minutes, depending upon their ripeness.

Transfer the peaches and their cooking liquid to a deep glass bowl (the peaches should be completely covered by the liquid) and let cool to room temperature.
You don’t have to take the skin off, but if the peaches are ripe the skin would fall off easily. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 days or for up to 3 days. Serve them cold with some of the juice from the syrup.

Bellini
• 1 bottle of Prosecco
• About 3 poached peaches in Prosecco from the above recipe

Take the skin off from the fruit. Puree the fruit.

For each serving, pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the fruit puree into a Champagne glass.

Slowly pour enough Prosecco into the glass to fill. Gently stir to blend and serve.