Apricot Season- Don’t miss out-really.June 26, 2009
You see apricots at the farm stand or grocery store and somehow they don’t make it into your basket. They should. The apricot is the most unappreciated of all the stone fruits. Unlike the peach which is delicious by itself, apricots just need a little tender loving care. There are 21,000 acres of apricot trees in California so they must be good. Although the majority end up getting canned that is not where they really shine.
Briefly cooking an apricot brings out flavors that will make you think “now I get it”. Pick apricots that are slightly soft. Real soft spots are OK. Cut them in half and remove the pit. At this point you can either roast them in the oven or make a stove top compote. For roasting, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle some sugar on each half and bake in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes. You want them cooked through but still retain their shape. The good news too is that you don’t have to peel them. The skin is soft enough you won’t even know it is there. Taste one and see if they are sweet enough, if not, sprinkle a little more sugar on top and return briefly to the oven.
For stove top, cut the apricots into eights and cook in a sauté pan with some butter, sugar and a little water over medium heat. Cook until soft. Add more sugar if needed. Serve the apricots with your favorite pound cake and some whipped cream, warm over crepes or with vanilla ice cream. Vanilla and apricots are a marriage made in heaven. Try apricots any of these ways and next time you go to the store you won’t pass them by.