A Nectarine Sandwich? Oh Yeah!
There are peach fans, and there are nectarine fans. I know this because discussion centered around this topic at a neighborhood backyard barbecue recently.
The nectarine fans were firm that this fruit surpasses the peach because it doesn’t have a fuzzy skin. (An important factor for those who are super texture-fussy.) The lack of fuzzy skin means you don’t have to peel it. And the nectarine fans insist this fruit tastes almost, if not exactly, like a peach.
What’s your stand on the peach-nectarine debate? Personally, I’ve never minded the fuzzy skin thing, so peeling a peach to eat it fresh wasn’t an issue for me. But I dunno about the taste part. While I like nectarines, I can’t say they even compare to a ripe peach.
But debate aside, nectarines definitely have their place. Like other stone fruits (peaches, apricots, and plums), they’re loaded with health benefits. For instance, one medium-sized nectarine contains only 62 calories and is a good source of:
Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc
Electrolytes: Potassium galore!
Vitamins: folates, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K
Phyto-nutrients: beta-carotene, xanthin B, lutein-zeaxanthin
AND, nectarines contain NO sodium or cholesterol. SO, this fruit helps protect against all sorts of cancers and heart disease. I could go on, but you get the picture. Nectarines are good and good for you.
Nectarine season mirrors that of peaches. It’s short, so don’t procrastinate. And they have lots of uses, again, just like peaches. Nectarine jam is delicious. I’ve used nectarines in place of peaches when making my Dutch oven peach cobbler. They’re scrumptious in fruit smoothies, and amazing when thinly sliced and added to vanilla ice cream.
A favorite dessert at our house calls for lining a pan with Lorna Doone cookies, then layering sliced nectarines (don’t bother peeling them) atop the cookies. You finish this off by slathering a THICK layer of sweetened whipped cream over the whole thing. Cover this with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours. You can speed the process up a few hours by smashed the fruit and then spread it over the cookies. The juices from the fruit soak into the cookies and the cream completes the flavor package. This is divine. Peaches work as well.
Then there’s the nectarine sandwich. Aunt Annie used to make a nectarine and cream cheese Monte Cristo sandwich that she’d serve for dessert sometimes. Monte Cristos are sandwiches that are dipped in beaten egg and griddled like French toast. They’re marvelous for breakfast, but the right recipe makes a grand dessert as well. And Aunt Annie’s was the right recipe!
I’ll close with Aunt Annie’s HOW-TOs for delicious nectarine Monte Cristos:
Spread slices of bread with a thick layer of softened cream cheese.
Cover the cream cheese with thin slices of nectarines (peaches or even apricots work also).
Top these with another slice of creamed cheese bread. You’ve just made a sandwich.
Dip sandwiches in a well-blended mixture of eggs, milk, and a smidge of vanilla.
On a well-buttered griddle, toast sandwiches. Rebutter the griddle before you turn the sandwiches over.
Transfer the sandwiches to plates and sift confectioners' sugar on top. Garnish with berries and serve. We skip the confectioners’ sugar and just load on sweetened whipped cream. These are amazing!
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