Grilled Banana and Mango Salad with Vanilla-Poached Peach

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

A handy tool to have for this dessert is a small gas burner like the ones they use in restaurants to caramelize crème brûlée – but I wont assume you have one, in which case you’ll have to use the grill on your oven, as I did.

When poaching soft fruit like peaches it’s important to have enough liquid to keep them suspended above the bottom of the pot, as they can squash a bit once they soften up from cooking. So find a suitable pot – you need them to be able to just fit in it in one layer. If it’s too small they’ll end up sitting on top of each other; too large and you’ll need litres of poaching liquid. Either way, if you find them not floating (you may have jumbo peaches), then just add more liquid. You can poach your peaches up to 4 days ahead, as long as you keep them in their poaching liquor, covered in the fridge.

To make a cartouche, get a square of non-stick baking parchment and sit the lid of the pot on top. Mark with a pen slightly larger than the lid and then cut out a circle. Fold into quarters and snip a 5mm hole from the centre.

Ingredients

  • 4 peaches
  • 1 bottle of white wine (choose the sort of flavours you like – I’d go for a grassy NZ sauvignon blanc or a fruity sweet muscatel, depending on my mood)
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and then halved again
  • 225 g caster sugar (I like to use unrefined as you get the hint of caramel present)
  • juice and peeled rind of 1 lemon (peel rind off with a potato peeler or sharp knife avoiding the pith)
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut at an angle into slices about 1 cm thick
  • 1 large mango, peeled, flesh removed from the stone and sliced into 5 mm thick pieces
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Method

Gently wipe the peaches with a damp cloth and, using a very sharp knife, cut a 4 cm cross barely through the skin at the pointed end to help the skin come off later (as you would with a tomato for skinning).

Bring the wine, vanilla, sugar, lemon rind and juice to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the peaches to the pot and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Place the cartouche (see above, or a suitably sized plate or saucer) on top, press on to the liquid and cook until you can insert a skewer or thin sharp knife into the peaches, about 20 minutes for a ripe medium peach. Leave to cool completely in the liquid.

Take out the cooled peaches one by one and peel the skin from them (you may need to use a knife). Place back in the liquid to store.

Preheat a hot grill. Lay the sliced banana and mango in a single layer on a metal tray lined with lightly oiled foil. Dust with icing sugar, then grill until lightly caramelized.

To Serve

Make a ring of the grilled fruits on each of 4 plates, then sit a peach in the middle. Drizzle on a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid, sit a piece of lemon rind on top and serve.