The Good Life, 328pp.
by Adrian Richardson
Pan Macmillan, Australia, 2011
Cooking on page 32
It’s been almost two years since I typed out this recipe when we visited our dear Emma in Perth, Western Australia. Emma was our second of 27 exchange students. Over the years, those wonderful young people stayed in our home for anywhere up to 12 months.
Emma came to us more than a decade ago and now she’s emigrating to Australia. The country is all the luckier to have her.
Emma owns this cookbook. It’s by Adrian Richardson of the Good Chef, Bad Chef duo on Australian television. Adrian is the baddie—using lavish amounts of butter, bacon and other calorie-laden foods—but this page-32 recipe makes him look like the goodie.
Nectarines have a short season so, when they are available, Adrian likes to uses them in both savoury and sweet dishes. He says this salad goes well with roasted duck or chicken. Sometimes he adds roughly crumbled goat’s cheese.
Nectarine, watercress and toasted almond salad with lime dressing
6 ripe nectarines
2 cups watercress sprigs
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chives snipped in 4cm lengths
3 tablespoons dill springs
3 tablespoons almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of two limes
1 teaspoon French grain mustard
freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and set aside until ready to use.
Cut the nectarines in half and remove the stones (there’s no need to peel them). Slice each half into thirds and arrange on a large serving platter.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut the peel from the lime. Hold the lime in one hand and use the other hand to cut on either side of each segment to remove wedges of flesh, leaving the membranes behind.
Scatter the lime segments over the nectarines, followed by the watercress, herbs and almonds. Drizzle on the dressing and serve straight away.
How it played out
With a short season for nectarines and the fact that watercress is rather hard to come by in Canberra, it’s no wonder it’s taken me two years to bring together this recipe.
Of course, then I cheated in one aspect. I used fruit from the wild-sown peach tree that grows between our driveway and the neighbour’s. Why the tree is there at all is another story for another time.
It’s still a young tree, so the peaches are on the small side—weighing only 60 grams each—so I used eight. My only other change was to scatter the lime wedges and a few extra peach slices over the top of the finished salad.
As an aside, I googled whether to use watercress stems: the advice was to trim off all the thicker ones.
Excellent salad. I’ll make it again next year when a new crop of peaches ripen. I’ve already used up the last of this year’s harvest in place of figs in a wonderful cake—another page-32 recipe.
In the land of stone fruit
We travelled through Central Asia about this time last year, where almonds, nectarines and peaches were in abundant supply. But alas there was no watercress.