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August 4, 2004

Peppered nectarine salad
Posted by Teresa at 12:20 PM * 63 comments

4-6 reasonably firm nectarines
1 large or 2 small red onions
2 bell peppers, or 1 bell plus several salad peppers
2 reasonably firm tomatoes
1 lime
balsamic vinegar
oil (I prefer hazelnut oil for this)
black pepper
white pepper
ground hot red pepper (optional)
a good big pinch of dried basil

Wash everything, of course. Cut the nectarines into thin slices. Chop the onions finely. Cut the peppers into thin strips, no more than a couple of inches long. Cut the tomatoes into little cubes.

Pepper heavily with black pepper, more restrainedly with white pepper, and infinitesimally with the hot red pepper. If some of your peppers are mildly hot in their own right, you can skip the ground red pepper entirely.

Cut the lime in halves or quarters and squeeze it over the salad. Salt well. Add balsamic vinegar to taste—probably around 2-4 teaspoons. Add oil to taste. Sprinkle on the basil. Mix well.

This gets better after a few hours, not that it isn’t good to start.

By the way: nectarine slices and paper-thin slices of red onion are great on cold sliced pork sandwiches.

[Recipe Index]

Comments on Peppered nectarine salad:
#1 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 12:52 PM:

It's lunch time, and this sounds so delicious that I'm strongly considering going grocery-shopping for nectarines, red onions, peppers, tomatoes, and a lime.

I need to grocery-shop anyway, so maybe this can be my motivation.

#2 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 12:59 PM:

Sounds very tasty.

I have a hot stir-fry (usually with chicken) that has remarkably similar ingredients. I add fresh ginger, meat, and a bit of brown sugar and don't add the tomatoes.

I'll have to pick up some nectarines on the way home...

#3 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 01:09 PM:

Try munching on thin slices of fresh, ripe peaches with pickled ginger (the pink sort typically served with sushi). Yum! It probably works as a pork condiment, too.

#4 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 01:20 PM:

That looks amazing. Teresa, my offices are about twenty blocks north of yours. That rolling-thunder noise you're hearing is my stomach rumbling.

I have now gone from "starving" to "wild-eyed and ravenous." Time for lunch.

#5 ::: sundre ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 01:56 PM:

my family has always made mango chow in the summer. actually, i'm not sure if "chow" is the correct spelling. no one's ever bothered to write it down.

sliced green mango (actual colour unimportant as long as it's firm and not completely ripe)
crushed garlic
hot pepper

in proportions according to taste.

mix in a bowl and set in a sunny place to let the flavours mingle. taste occasionally to see how it's getting on. eventually enjoy.

we've even done this on camping trips. if you're squeamish about the combination of fruit and garlic, a passable imitation can be pulled off with cucumber, but it's not nearly as lovely.

sunlight is an important ingredient.

#6 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 02:42 PM:

That sounds wonderful. Since I doubt anyone in my remarkably unadventurous family would try it, I could even make it with Hazelnut oil (which would kill at least two members of the family) and eat it all myself.

Hungry now.

#7 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 03:02 PM:

Oh, I love spicy/sweet. I'll have to try it once my knives, cutting board, and spices are all in the same place. (Not only am I moving, but I just had a flood to deal with last night. I can live without that kind of synchronicity.)

#8 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 03:10 PM:

Could someone define “salad pepper” for the uninitiated?

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 03:22 PM:

Yellow banana peppers. Pepperoncini. Cubanelles. Cherry peppers. A whole bunch of other varieties that aren't reliably available in this part of the world. A fresh pepper that isn't as hot as a jalapeno or cayenne, but isn't as innocuous as a bell pepper, either.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 03:22 PM:

Fresh, not pickled.

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 03:25 PM:

Frying peppers? Or are those too mild?

#13 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 04:05 PM:

Anaheims might work....

I've got a bumper crop of peppers I need to figure out what to do with.

#14 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 04:17 PM:


Yet another instance where I wish I liked bell peppers. And salad peppers. And raw tomatoes. And onions.

The literary equivalent of watching Iron Chef...

#15 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 04:32 PM:

Skwid: I think watching the Bell Pepper Battle last Saturday contributed to my sudden and unexpected trip into crankiness after what had been a very nice day.

(Bell peppers are what I always use to describe food cooties based on taste--not my theory, someone on rasseff's. Even if you take them out, they contaminate everything. Ugh.)

#16 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 06:06 PM:

Teresa - I love your recipe writing style. It makes the reader feel like a participant, better yet, an in-the-know participant. Your description of the use of ground pepper is truly masterful.

I'd suggest writing a cookbook, but you know better than anyone how hard it would be to get that particular bird in the air (or onto the grill.)

#17 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 09:29 PM:

ooh the mango chow sounds delicious. I'll have to try it some time.

we usually just pickle unripe mangoes (preferably the indian mango variety) in a mixture of salt and sugar (salt should be around one third in proportion to sugar). store in fridge for a few hours and then enjoy.

the crushed garlic reminds me of ensaladang talong, which is mashed eggplant salad with garlic and vinegar. it's the only form of eggplant I like and it goes well with a surprising number of things.

#18 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 10:51 PM:

I'm allergic to nectarines, and yet I suddenly find myself not caring.


#19 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 12:11 AM:

I should see about posting my sister-in-law's recipe for a salad involving watermelon, onions, and grotesque amounts of crushed mint. It's startling, but it works.

#20 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 12:48 AM:

Hmm... hazelnut oil. I suspect that that's too unusual for my grocery store. What oils could I substitute -- a really light sesame, maybe?

A TNH cookbook would be very interesting to see (call it Making Food, perhaps? *g*)

#21 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 02:59 AM:

Kevin - No, Making Lunch I think...

#22 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 04:28 AM:

Oh, unfair. And it's pouring with rain here and half a year from nectarine season!

#23 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 05:49 AM:


This wretched hour of the morning is the absolute -last- time I should be reading about nummy sounding food. Nothing at all is open, dammit.


#24 ::: ASweeney ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 09:30 AM:

Mmmm. I'm going to make that tonight.

My summer favorite: Slice ripe peaches and avocados. Gently salt, add a touch of balsamic vinegar. Eat as-is, on crackers, with fish/chicken/pork. Yum!

#25 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 09:53 AM:

A great hors d'oeuvre if you like taste contrast:pepper boursin cheese, brought to room temperature and spread on fresh slices of pear.


#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 11:00 AM:

Not sesame oil, Kevin; that'd overwhelm it. Use whatever oil you'd use to dress a salad. If I hadn't had hazelnut, I'd have used olive oil.

#27 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 04:57 PM:

It's very similar to the Insalata Siciliana at my favorite Italian restaurant: sliced oranges, chopped onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and I think parsley. They also do it with tomatoes or watermelon. Yours comes across as a very nice sophisticated version of a country staple.

#28 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 07:49 PM:

You know, I got to the point of asking whether or not to peel the nectarines first before the relevant switch ticked over in my head and I realized, oh, nectarines not mandarins. Nominal aphasia strikes again. That, and Teresa's known tropism for citrus. But you know, I think it might be good with mandarins, too. Or regular oranges. One of our favorite Costa Mesa restaurants does an Italian amuse bouche to lead in to every meal, in the form of a slice of orange dressed with olive oil, crushed garlic, and dried tarragon and basil (I think). It's wonderful.

#29 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 08:14 PM:

Oddly enough, Ulrika, I had the same nominal aphasia the first time through....

#30 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 08:47 PM:

This sounds marvelous, and similar to Steve's and my Black Bean Mango Salsa. Maybe we should prepare these two dishes at VP this year....

#31 ::: redfox ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 10:04 PM:

Walnut oil would also be good, I'd think.

#32 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 10:24 PM:

Yum. Gonna make this some time this weekend. Going down to the River Market produce market Saturday (a weekend open market near the river) for the fresh produce.

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 11:37 PM:

Anaheims are good. Anchos, too. Also frying peppers. And I expect Big Jim Numex would do just fine; they're good in everything else.

Now that we're getting settled in again, I should try to dig up that recipe for dark chocolate/ancho chile ice cream I got from Mitch Wagner, back in the days of the GEnie SFRT.

Sundre, that mango chow sounds delectable. Do you eat it on something, or just scarf it straight out of the bowl?

Mad, come to dinner. I promise at least one ingredient per course that would kill off your family members. Not that I don't hold them in highest esteem; but when they come over, I'll cook something else.

Poor Skwid! Did your father the King forget to invite the Solanaceae Fairy to your christening?

Kate, bell peppers are the food that led me to theorize that people truly don't taste the same things. Non-bell-pepper types can't stand them, even in homeopathic doses. I'm that way about liver. Lots of people feel that way about cilentro. It's not an allergy. I know people with real food allergies. Mad's husband Danny, for instance -- he doesn't hate nuts, he just goes into anaphylactic shock when he's exposed to them. It's also not a matter of simple preference. It's strong revulsion born of genuinely unpleasant experience.

Chris, consider yourself formally encouraged to post that recipe.

ASweeney, Patrick says I have to make that one.

Ulrika, Thomas, while it's true that I've never met a citrus I didn't like, most mandarins would be too mushy for this salad even before the salt and vinegar hit them.

TomB, I've never had the stuff, but the realtime virtual recipe reconstructer in my head thinks your Insalata Siciliana needs some variety of Apiaceae in it, and chopped Italian parsley would do just fine.

Laura, I will if you will.

(Salads! Love 'em. I'm morally certain our species has been devising interesting salads since the dawn of time. Much, much later, we got around to writing down some recipes -- probably around the time we started having choices beyond "whatever's on hand today.")

Larry Brennan, thank you for the kind words. On alternate days I blame my recipe-writing style on my youthful exposure to medieval cookbooks, with their vivid descriptions -- more than one recipe starts by telling you to take your cut of meat and "smite him in pieces" -- and their wonderfully airy directions like "until it be enough." The rest of the time, I figure I'd have wound up writing my recipes in narrative/descriptive style anyway, because that's how I think about cooking. That scientifickall level-measure business is all very well if you're trying to teach a Martian to make tapioca, but it doesn't do much to give you a feel for the dish.

#34 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 11:53 PM:

What a wonderful thread! Thank you, thank you all - I may have to try out one of these recipes to bring to the BBQ Sunday afternoon!

#35 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 12:07 AM:

My supper was less exotic, but still good. Friends brought me cucumbers & tomatoes from their garden this week and I made a salad with a cucumber and two tomatoes, a bit of Jarlsberg cheese, and a basil vinegrette. Poor Shiva, who thinks any time I actually use a cutting board, that it will be something he'd like. I let him stick his nose in the bowl when I was done eating and he jerked back so fast he almost fell off the filing cabinet he was sitting on.

#36 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 01:33 AM:

You're on. (if we can find the mangos...)

I also want to try that lovely-sounding mango chow.

#37 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 01:36 AM:

One of the things I really miss about Kenya is how good all the fruits and veggies were. I mean, you have no idea. _I_ have no idea. I mean, I remember my constant amazement at how good it all was, but I know if I went back, I'd be amazed all over again, even knowing ahead of time.

Vine/tree/bush ripened growing things are SO MUCH BETTER than the stuff we get. Every time you eat a piece of fruit or a fresh vegetable, your tastebuds do this little happy dance.


#38 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 02:45 AM:

This does sound delicious, but mixing fruit with other foods makes my wife press her lips together until they turn white.

"Bad food combining," she says.

In every other way, though, she's wonderful.

#39 ::: sundre ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 10:15 AM:

teresa: straight out of the bowl, usually. it's a sort of communal thing in our family. we also sometimes serve it with pelau, which is a caribbean rice&peas dish. and my mother once threw the same ingredients into a food processor to make a sort of chutney/dip to accompany phulourie - a fried dough made of split peas.

mm. there are too many things i need to learn how to cook.

#40 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 11:52 AM:
TNH wrote:
Poor Skwid! Did your father the King forget to invite the Solanaceae Fairy to your christening?
It was only the scandal of the season! Were it not for some timely aid by the Lord of the Gymnosperms, things might have been much worse!
#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 12:29 PM:

Poor Shiva, who thinks any time I actually use a cutting board, that it will be something he'd like. I let him stick his nose in the bowl when I was done eating and he jerked back so fast he almost fell off the filing cabinet he was sitting on.

I'm sure he caught himself. Pity he doesn't like such things; with all those arms he'd be a major asset in chopping.

#42 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 02:03 PM:

Vine/tree/bush ripened growing things are SO MUCH BETTER than the stuff we get.

Amen, sister. Just in the latter part of July I started a batch of blackberry/nectarine cordial stewing (apropos of Teresa's recipes: Virtue Rewarded) and started the batch off with store bought blackberries (I was in a hurry, okay?) but almost didn't because the store bought ones were virtually scentless and flavorless. I went out later that week and hunted up a thicket of wild berries (not hard, in Washington state) to supplement the batch, and the difference in flavor was beyond adequate description. Complexity, depth, brightness, wonderful heady perfume. All there. Hmm. Must go out and pick more. It's blackberry pie season.

#43 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 03:59 PM:

Ulrika: I'll be happy to help dispose of that pie. Blackberries, yummmmm


#44 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 04:39 PM:

"Pepper heavily with black pepper" makes me think of a dish prepared by a friend of mine, with a sauce composed nominally of tomato, red wine and onion... but which is entirely black by the time it's served.

The same person has a rather perverse dislike of anything that contains uncooked tomatoes, which I can't understand at all. I think you're right about not tasting things the same way. He doesn't like cucumber, either, or even anything that's been vaguely near it -- while I can barely taste the stuff at all.

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2004, 07:52 PM:

Xopher, I named him for the white spot on his forehead. I don't know that he's actually brought order out of chaos yet, though.

#46 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2004, 01:44 PM:

Made this salad last night and popped it into the fridge to have with breakfast. My wife loved it, despite her food combining issues. The two-year-old gave it the thumbs up, too.

And it's a nice big salad, so I'll have plenty for later.


#47 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2004, 03:07 PM:

Yum! Made this one last night...a definite hit. I threw in a fresh diced habanero in place of the crushed red pepper, which was nice as their heat tends to be slower and more drawn out than the sharp hot of cayenne or jalapeno. Plus they taste great.

#48 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2004, 04:49 PM:

I'm happy to report that this went over quite well with the family, even considering that we're not at all green-pepper people. It didn't hurt that between the green peppers, the red tomatoes, the yellow nectarines, and the purple "red" onion, the salad *looked* great -- and tasted even better. Definitely a recipie to keep!

#49 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2004, 12:07 AM:


for those who _really_ don't like bell-type peppers:

I think this would work very well dropping out the peppers and adding fresh basil leaves (you can leave out the dried) and cucumber, possibly raw zucchini or crookneck to get the crunch. If anyone experiments with this, please let me know; I'm not really in a place to try right now.

#50 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2004, 04:08 PM:

Great complement to my buffalo steaks. I was going to match it to roast chicken, but forgot to thaw the bird. Ooops! Have to make a second batch. ;)

Very pretty. Unlike some others above, I subsituted red pepper instead of green, and my nectarines were white flesh, so the salad was quite red and white and purple. Lovely.

Hope you post more of these.

#51 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 01:05 AM:

I'm gonna make it later this week when Hal and Ulrika come to dinner. I'll probably leave out the hot red pepper because I don't like it. I've bought a green bell pepper and a white one since the nectarines are yellow fleshed. It should be very pretty and we'll probably have it with some sort of simple broiled chicken.


#52 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 01:20 AM:

It's a pity I don't like raw onion and raw bell pepper, because my bell pepper plants in the garden have a fine crop of red, yellow and black at the moment. They'd make a very decorative version of this salad. I will have to consider inviting a few friends round for dinner. But it will be fresh basil from the garden. :-)

#53 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 11:52 AM:

Julia -- if you didn't like crottled greeps, why did you order them?

Translation: if you don't like bell peppers, why do you grow them?

#54 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 11:55 AM:

Tom, I am not Julia but I see 2 possible answers. She specified she didn't like them raw; so maybe she likes them cookd. Also, maybe her friends and family like them.


#55 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 12:21 PM:

As Mary suggested, I don't like them raw, but I do like them cooked. Friends and family like them. And they're actually very decorative plants - the black one is quite striking at the moment.

We had some in the kebabs on the barbecue on Sunday. Bell peppers and tomatoes that had been on the plant an hour earlier - very nice. :-)

#56 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 03:17 PM:

Julia -
You might try making it with roasted peppers and onions. You could compensate for the extra sweetness by upping the lime content, or splitting the balsamic vinegar with wine vinegar.

This recipe begs for scientific exploration (and that includes publication!).

#57 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 03:49 PM:

Michael - I think I'd probably adapt it by sauteing the onion and bell peppers in a nice flavoured oil, and making a hot salad. Unfortunately the black pigment in the black bell pepper is heat-sensitive, and when you cook one it turns the colour of an ordinary green bell pepper.

Sweet is not a problem for me, but I suspect that the result of my experimenting with this would not be palatable to anyone other than other super-tasters. I'd also leave out the black/white pepper if it was for myself, because whole peppercorns in a spice ball are good, pepper ground onto something is horrible. I'd probably substitute grated fresh ginger in the saute.

Alternatively, chives would be a nice addition to the cold ingredients if I were to saute the onion and bell pepper.

#58 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 06:51 PM:

Wow. I think this is the first thread I've been tempted to print out entire and archive.

I have a nice cold grilled turkey salad that is kinda similiar, but the recipe I modified it from is copyrighted, so I'm not sure if I can post it. It's got balsamic vineagar, peaches, and canteloupe, though, as well as the spice rub on the turkey. Adam hates it, but Kathy & I like it almost as much as ice cream.

#59 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2004, 11:18 PM:

Tried the nectarine salad. Haven't really had a chance to feed it to anyone but me. Love it, though.

Love it even more with a light splash of soy sauce.

#60 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2004, 02:58 AM:

Hal and Ulrika came to dinner to night and had this along with broiled chicken (marinated in olive oil and lime juice) and fettucini with pesto sauce made from my own basil. We all agreed it was darn special though I forgot the basil in this recipe!


#61 ::: Pedro ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2004, 10:44 PM:

Absolutely wonderful recipe, Teresa. Thanks so much! Made it for my wife, and she loved it and me.

#62 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 04:49 PM:

Yes, most excellent swell, even without the forgotten basil. My thanks to you as well as our good hostess.

#63 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2004, 02:06 AM:

Yay! I made it to the end of a long thread for once!

Teresa, is there any fruit we can substitute for the nectarines? Since you posted this recipe we've been unable to find so much as a single nectarine worth a second bite. The squirrel kits that own our back porch are making out like pirates, so we at least get entertainment value out of the bum nectarines, but we still want to taste this or something close. Anybody ringing any changes on this?

Peaches (they were good ones) didn't seem to work as a substitute. Maybe the lack of crunch?

Any suggestions, anybody? Or do I just keep buying nectarines until we luck out and the squirrel kits have to go back to eating acorns?
Cheers, Janet

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