Bursting with flavor: Try Mark Bittman’s stone-fruit recipes

Due to an unusually warm winter, growers across America are reporting the earliest peach season in memory. That goes for other varieties of stone fruit as well. Lucky for us, Mark Bittman enjoys playing around with his food. Take advantage of these extra few weeks by experimenting with fruit in the kitchen and on the grill using these helpful recipes. When it comes to stone fruit, one size fits all!

Chutney

Ingredients

    • 1 pound fresh fruit, pitted and chopped
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • Ground cloves
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup toasted macadamia or other nuts

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Combine the fruit, brown sugar and 1/2 cup water in a skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until fruit is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.2. Add the orange juice, minced ginger, curry powder and a pinch of ground cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick. (Lower the heat if the mixture threatens to burn on the bottom.)3. Turn off the heat and partially cool the mixture; stir in the raisins and nuts. Serve warm or cold. (Or store in a jar, refrigerated, for up to a week.) Use to stir into sauces, or serve alongside roasted vegetables, chicken or meat.

Mexican-style fruit salad

Ingredients

    • 2 pounds fresh fruit, pitted and chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 lime
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon chile powder
    • Salt
    • Cayenne (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a large bowl, toss the chopped fruit with the cilantro, the juice of a lime, sugar, chile powder, a little salt and a pinch of cayenne (optional).2. Put the fruit on a serving platter or individual plates, and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

French-style fruit

Ingredients

    • Fresh fruit, pitted and halved
    • Unsalted butter, melted
    • Sugar

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or broiler to low heat and place the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.2. Brush the fruit with melted, unsalted butter on both sides; sprinkle the cut side of the fruit with sugar.3. Put the fruit directly on the rack, cut side up. (If you’re worried about the slices falling through the grate, thread them on soaked wooden skewers.) Cook until fruit is soft and glazed, about 10 minutes. Optional: Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Oven-dried fruit

Ingredients

    • Fresh fruit, pitted and halved

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 225 degrees F. Set 2 wire racks on top of 2 (preferably rimmed) baking sheets. Put the fruit on the racks, cut side down. Put the pans in the oven and forget about them for 2 hours.2. Turn the sheets around and check on the fruit. After 2 to 3 hours, the flesh will still be moist. The longer they stay in the oven, the drier and smaller they’ll get; the flavors will concentrate too.3. Check them every couple of hours until you get the hang of the process; after a couple batches you’ll know how long it takes to get them as you like. (To store finished fruit: if still soft and moist, wrap and refrigerate the pieces for several days or freeze for month. If they’re totally dry, dark, and leathery, you can store them in a jar in the pantry for up to several months.)

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