This is barely a recipe, more a point in the right direction. It is a perfect illustration of my mantra – good seasonal ingredients, cooked simply and carefully with love.
Perfectly ripe apricots, like melon and tomatoes always remind me of childhood camping trips to France. We’d pull our (non-airconditioned) car over at the side of the road. I’d extract myself from the tangle of camping equipment and cheap wine that my parents had wedged around me (pre car seats and seat belts) and we’d stand next to our car making lunch with whatever fruit we’d buy from the little farm stands. Tomatoes would be torn in half, sometimes with my dad’s car key instead of a knife, and stuffed into a torn open baguette with some salt from my Mum’s trusty portable salt-cellar. Apricots and melons would also be torn open and we’d eat them with the juice running down our chins before we’d pack ourselves back into the car and head off towards our next camp site. The ingredients were so perfectly ripe and sun-warmed that they didn’t need anything else.
I really want my boys to have those taste memories of their childhood and to experience the joy of eating food at its best. So the abundance of apricots at the farmers market, and on our neighbour’s tree recently meant that we were thrown head-long into an apricot feeding frenzy. The boys were also delighted to be able to run over to our neighbour’s tree in their jim jams and pick apricots for their breakfast each day. Simple pleasures.
I’ve talked before about my love of eating seasonally. Indulging in food at its most delicious, nutritious (and cheap) for a short time, before happily moving on, like a commitment-phobe, to whatever pops into season next.
So for a few weeks we’ve eaten few meals without throwing a cheeky apricot in. They are easy to make into jam, even for a non-jam maker like me. I chopped them onto pancakes, into porridge and into muffins, tarts and crumbles. I also used them to add a slight sweetness and tartness to savoury dishes – a few thinly sliced apricots mixed in with earthy kale salads or a Moroccan chicken stew were delicious. And they are rich in potassium, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A and C. I even enlisted my sons and husband in a marathon apricot stone cracking session (with actual hammers) to extract enough kernels to make David Lebovitz‘s fabulous apricot kernel ice cream which I will post soon.
So, after all this, I wanted to share my favourite way to eat apricots – the classic French way:
1. Cut perfectly ripe, room temperature apricots them in half. Twist and remove the stone
2. Fill the cavity left by the stone with a little spoon of chèvre (mild-tasting soft goat’s cheese). I have also been served this in France with the apricots stuffed with Boursin. I prefer goat’s cheese for flavour but also because it is easier to digest than cow’s milk cheese. You could also wrap each apricot in a silky piece of prosciutto for a little extra complexity
3. Eat as an appetizer with Champagne, for lunch with a green salad or as a mid afternoon snack.