Sunday, July 26, 2009

Peach and Fig Chutney

Sometimes I overbuy beautiful fruit at the farmer's market. Usually it's a way to force myself to make something new. A couple of weeks ago I bought a few pounds of peaches. We were going to have dinner with friends, and I thought that I would make a peach crostata for dessert.

We ended up going out to dinner instead. It was my birthday, so I was actually quite happy not to make my own dinner. But I ended up with a bag full of ripe peaches to contend with. Rough, I know.

I had been eyeing a recipe for pickled peaches in the Chez Panisse Fruit Cookbook to serve with grilled duck breasts, but it just didn't seem to have the right balance I was looking for.

Inspiration came on a walk through the neighborhood when I saw some ripe figs hanging from my neighbor's tree. I haven't bought figs at the market since discovering two fig trees in the neighborhood. For one, figs are mighty expensive at the market and totally sub par compared to picking them fresh from a tree when they are perfectly ripe. I don't think there is any food quite as sexy as a ripe fig.

So that settled it. I was going to make a peach and fig chutney. The sweet richness of the figs was just what I wanted to mellow out the "pickled" peaches. The original recipe called for the addition of pickled ginger which I left out. I didn't want a chutney with too much going on. The fruit was so beautiful, and I really just wanted to let their beauty shine through.

I also decided to leave the chutney on the juicy side so that it would have a bit of sauce to drizzle around the grilled duck. It was delicious! The chutney had the perfect sweet-tartness to balance out the richness of the duck. We served it with a bottle of pinotage that we brought back from South Africa last year. Perfect.

Peach and Fig Chutney
adapted from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook

1 pound ripe peaches, unpeeled
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 pound fresh ripe figs, such as Black Mission
3/4 cup cider vinegar, premium quality, unfiltered if possible like this
4 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 teaspoons mustard seeds
pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon minced Serrano chili

Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Toss the peaches with the lime juice and set aside. Remove the fig stems and quarter the figs lengthwise. Set aside.

In a skillet, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard seeds, salt, and pomegranate molasses. Place over moderate heat and reduce to a syrup, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the peaches and cook over low heat, covered, until softened but not mushy. This will take 5-15 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Add the figs and chili and cook, covered, an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, transfer to bowl, and cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

makes 2 1/2 cups.


  1. I love that there's Serrano chile in there. Amazing. Love it.

  2. I have a weakness for chutney it's the softness the sweet and sour combination and this sounds just lovely. The market is bursting with the ripest sweetest peaches and figs here so maybe I should try this.
    and duck too - lucky you.

  3. Thanks Rebekka!

    Hi Rachel, me too! I'm trying not to post too many chutney/compote recipes, but they are just so good!

    So Vic, is your tree ready to give a bumper crop this year??!