My husband has christened this ‘Swiss army chutney’ because it has proved itself to be extremely versatile. I tastes great with all types of cheese, especially grilled halloumi or paneer kebabs, cold pork, ham and poultry, as an alternative to mango chutney with curries and with seafood such as salmon or prawns.
This recipe came about when the warm weather made the nectarines in my fruit bowl change in the blink of an eye, from rock hard to so ripe that I would need to borrow a bib from my niece to eat them.
We had eaten halloumi with peach salsa at a wonderful restaurant called Pumpkin in Philadelphia. My nectarines were too soft for salsa but this is sort of an extension of that idea.
I really wanted to use fresh red chili in this to give it a sort of sweet chili sauce edge but none of my local supermarkets seemed to stock it. If you can find fresh chili then please use that (as much or as little as you like) instead of the chili flakes that I’ve listed in the recipe.
I also slice the ginger into little shards because I really like the little bit of fiery heat on my tongue when I bite down on them. If you want more of a general gingery-ness then just grate it instead.
If you don’t have white balsamic, or don’t want to sling it into a chutney (it is a bit extravagant) then white wine vinegar will be fine. I just used white balsamic because that’s what I happened to have in the house.
makes 1 medium size jar
400g ripe nectarines
50ml white balsamic vinegar
80g white sugar
1 inch fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
2 allspice berries
2 cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp coriander seed
1/4 tsp chili flakes
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
Remove the stones from the nectarines and cut them into smallish chunks. You want them to cook evenly but you don’t want them to turn to a complete mush.
Peel the ginger and either cut it into matchstick shards or grate it. Peel and crush the garlic.
In a large, heavy bottomed, sauce pan toast the whole spices for a couple of seconds over a moderate heat. I do mean literally 2-3 seconds as they burn very easily, I got side tracked for a moment the first time I did this and nearly gassed myself on the fumes!
Add the fruit, garlic, ginger, chili, and lime juice. Sprinkle in the saffron, crushing it a little bit as you do so. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the sugar and vinegar and give the mixture a good stir.
Bring to the boil and then let the chutney simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan. The chutney should become a dark golden colour and as the fruit cooks down it should become thick and syrupy. If it tastes a bit too vinegary then add a little bit more sugar and cook for another few minutes. The amount of sweetness that you get from the nectarines is obviously going to vary from fruit to fruit so it’s hard to be precise.
Pour into warm sterilized jars and seal. Store in a dark place once cooled and refrigerate after opening.
If you dress the jars up a little bit then this would make a good home made gift for cheese or curry lovers.