Peach season is here!
So is nectarine season!
They are so similar, both so sweet and juicy when ripe, that I wondered how different they really are…
It turns out that the only genetic difference is a single recessive gene that removes the fuzz of a peach, giving nectarines a smooth shiny skin. So basically, they are the same with a different exterior. Fuzz vs no fuzz.
Regardless, I love both nectarines and peaches. Substitute between the two for any recipe. My only gripe about these stone fruits is that they are highly perishable when ripe. You need to eat them pronto!
My Peachy Keen Vanilla Smoothie is a delicious way to treat yourself to wonderful peach bliss, and I have also used them to make other desserts like blueberry-peach brown butter muffins, blueberry-peach-raspberry crumbles, and an utterly delicious peach tea cake. Peach is also wonderful in a salsa, and I have paired it with a maple-chili grilled tofu previously.
Here, I wanted to go savoury with the nectarine. I was immediately drawn to PPK’s Portland Porch Lettuce Wraps, which featured pan-seared asparagus, nectarine and white beans with pesto in a lettuce wrap. I had been distracted from the asparagus, but vowed to get some more to make this. I wasn’t disappointed.
I modified Isa’s recipe slightly as I ran out of shallots, and I substituted with a mix of white and red onion. I chose baby lima beans as my white bean of choice. She provided a recipe for an edamame pesto, but I opted to use some pesto that I had made earlier and froze in some cute heart-shaped ice cube trays. How cute are they??
So, this dish was a wonderful merriment of sweet, succulent and juicy nectarines with crisp asparagus and creamy white beans with a nice backdrop of caramelized onions. This is delicious, as is, with a side of lettuce, or even something like brown rice or quinoa.
The pesto is not mandatory, as this is great without it, but it is nice with it as well. Basically, don’t hesitate to make this if you are without pesto.
Asparagus, Nectarine and Baby Lima Bean Lettuce Wraps with Pesto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion (I used a mixture of white and red)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound of asparagus, sliced on a bias (3/4 inch pieces or so)
2 small or 1 large firm yet ripe nectarines (1.5 cups), chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (leave the skin on)
1 1/2 cups baby lima beans (or other white bean), rinsed and drained if canned
1/2 cup your favourite pesto (try this lemon almond pesto!)
1 head of red bibb lettuce, or similar
1. Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat (cast iron is preferred.) Saute the onions in olive oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds more. Season with black pepper and salt. Add asparagus and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add nectarine, and cook for about 2-3 more minutes. The asparagus should be a bright Kermit green, and the nectarine should release some of its juices.
2. Add beans and toss to coat. Cook until they are warmed through, about 2 more minutes. Taste for salt. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes or so, so that the flavors can meld.
3. In the meantime, prepare red lettuce leaves. Just peel off the good big ones, rinse and dry them.
4. To assemble wraps, place a few leaves on each plate, spoon in some beans and plop on a nice big scoop of the pesto.