Saturday, July 17, 2010

om nom nom dinner with friends

I had my friends over for dinner friday night before watching Inception. I didn't take any pictures, but we had corn and swordfish on the grill, a salad made of cubed watermelon and cucumber with mint, goat cheese and a simple lemon vinaigrette, and grilled peaches with ice cream and bourbon caramel from the NYTimes. The bourbon caramel was a HUGE hit, and so I'm posting the recipe here. The one change i would make is don't let the sugar at the beginning get too dark, because then it's burnt, which is tasty but not the flavor you are going for. It should look kind of like honey.

Grilled-Peach Sundaes With Salted Bourbon-Caramel Sauce

For the Peaches

4 ripe peaches
3 tablespoons peanut oil
Sea salt

For the pecans:
1 cup whole pecan halves
1 1/2tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

For the caramel:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup bourbon

For the whipped cream:

1 cup best-quality heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Prepare the peaches: Heat a charcoal grill while you bring a saucepan of water to simmer. Score the bottom of each peach with an X, then blanch for about 45 seconds, until skin near the X looks loose. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and cool in a bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches. Then, with a paring knife, start at the stem of the peach and make a single cut around to the tip. Rotate hands in opposite directions, twist and free flesh from pit.

2. Lay the peach halves cut side up and brush lightly with peanut oil; sprinkle with salt. Place the peaches cut side down on grill (you can also use a stovetop grill pan set over medium heat) and cook until there are grill marks, about 2 minutes. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip and grill the other side.

3. Make the pecans: Toss the first four ingredients in a bowl; spread on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until nicely toasted. Remove and toss with the sugar.

4. Make the caramel: Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Gently swirl the mixture in a circular motion (do not stir) and allow it to boil down until it is a deepamber caramel, at least 10 minutes. Carefully whisk in the cream, protecting your hand from the steam. Immediately whisk in the butter and continue to stir over low heat until mixture is smooth. Stir in salt and bourbon and whisk again. Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.

5. Make the whipped cream: Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. Drizzle in the buttermilk and whip until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

6. To assemble: Place 2 peach halves in a bowl; scoop ice cream into each pit and add a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle salted bourbon-caramel sauce over the whole shebang. Serves 4. From John Currence, chef and owner of City Grocery, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast and Bouré in Oxford, Miss.

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