I’ve had the Honey & Co recipe book ‘Chasing Smoke: Cooking over Fire Around the Levant’ for just over a year now. It was a lovely gift from a friend for my birthday last year. This year I had planned to have a BBQ birthday lunch with friends and family but for many reasons that did not work out as planned. We had the lunch but not the BBQ, the thought of cooking outside in the 28 degree heat, seemed a little insane. So I bought a new griddle from Sainbury’s and adjusted my expectations…
In my new and modified menu I still wanted to explore grilling peaches. I had had the recipe the day before at Honey and Smoke so I knew how they presented this recipe. I had to work with what I had.
It turns out I did not have almonds – I thought it did, but seems not. I decided that I would use cashew nuts as a replacement for almonds. It seemed to work well (so nice that one of my guests took home a sample that evening).
I had already decided that I would plate the peaches on a bed of gem lettuce because I wasn’t about sourcing endives or grilling them. It turns out when I had the endives at Honey and Smoke, I didn’t like them anyway, weird.
All in all I think it turned out well. I would say that I need to make sure that my peaches are fully ripe before grilling. There were some that where a little too hard and therefore seemed to lose out on some juiciness. I also think that next time depending on what I have in the house I might just grill peaches and plums and make a multifruit salad out of it. So many adaptations to experiment with…
GRILLED PEACHES WITH ALMOND TAHINI & ENDIVE
For the almond tahini
100g oz whole raw almonds, skins on.
100g boiling water
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
4tbsp light vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower or rapeseed)
½ tsp flaky sea salt (plus more to taste)
1tbsp sherry vinegar (or use red wine vinegar)
80ml fl oz very cold water
For the salad
4 large, slightly firm peaches
3 tbsp olive oil to brush, and a little extra to drizzle
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of ½ lemon
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
To make the almond tahini, pour the boiling water over the almonds and set aside while they cool, for about 20–30 minutes. Drain, discard the water, and place the nuts in a food processor. Blitz to a very fine crumb, then add the garlic clove and continue blitzing as you pour in the vegetable oil. Pulse in the sprinkling of sea salt and the vinegar, and finally add the cold water, continuing to mix until everything is well-combined. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. It may seem a little runny now but the sauce will thicken as it settles. You may even need to add a touch more water and salt to loosen it just before serving.
Halve the endives and peaches, removing the stones from the peaches, then brush all the cut surfaces with olive oil. Place the endives and peaches cut-side down on a clean BBQ rack. Grill for about 3–4 minutes or until nice black griddle-marks have formed. Remove to a plate, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle the lemon juice all over. Spread two spoonfuls of almond tahini on each plate and top with two halves of charred endive and two halves of grilled peach. Add a sprinkling of fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of oil, then serve.
To cook without a BBQ
Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove top and cook just as you would on the fire.
Reference: Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich (Pavilion, 2021)
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