Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Summer Salad featuring Stone Fruit

I can’t stand the skin on peaches – how can I get it off?!

The classic way to get skin off of peaches – or any stone fruit – is by blanching. To blanch your peaches get a big pot of water boiling and prepare an ice bath (a big bowl of ice water). Score the bottom of each peach with a paring knife. Plop the peaches into the hot water for 30 seconds and then move them to the ice water. Do this in batches if you have a lot of peaches! Once they are cool the skins should peel right off. If you don’t want to do this process every time you are craving stone fruit you can try a short cut method – invest in a serrated peeler! This is a favorite tool of mine because it peels any soft-skinned fruit or veg easily and quickly. **Note – both of these techniques work on tomatoes too!

I want to add cherries to my fruit salads, but HOW do you get the pits out?

Cherry pitters are a thing…and they work!  You can also get the pits out of cherries the same way you get the pits out of any other stone fruit – cut down the “seam” and all the way around the cherry pit, then split it apart and pull the pit out. Laborious, but it works. Both techniques make a mess so wear an apron!

I’ve heard of people grilling stone fruits – why would you want to do this?

The reason for grilling anything is to impart bitterness onto food. Bitter; when paired with sweet, is very pleasing to the palette. You can imagine an extreme version of this concept by thinking about what a slightly burnt marshmallow tastes like. Since fruit is naturally sweet it pairs well with bitter flavors. Placing stone fruit on a very hot grill and putting a few black lines on it makes the sweetness of the fruit really shine through. Try grilling peaches or plums and pairing them with whipped cream, creme fraiche, or a simple cake or pastry cream.