Monday, July 1, 2013

My favorite summer pasta, made with overripe Japanese peaches. And a great sticky toffee pudding to end.


I'm packing up to head to Sri Lanka now, for another never-endingly eventful Travelife

But in a couple of weeks, I'll also be in Japan for a short trip, to accompany some friends on their holiday -- so I've started to think about what to cook while I'm there. 

It's great to cook in Japan because you can easily get ingredients from every corner of the world.

It's also summer season now, which is that time of the year when I always make my favorite summer pasta, either on the rooftop of my home in Tokyo or at my weekend house at the foothills of Mount Fuji.

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LONG-TERM SUCCESS

I've been making this very simple but incredibly tasty pasta for years, with great success.

It's so unique and it's perfect for entertaining as it can be made in advance and the quality doesn't suffer when you do so.

In fact, it should be made in advance so the flavors can blend well together.

JAPANESE PEACHES ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE



The only clincher is that this pasta should be made with Japanese peaches.

I've tried other fruits and they just don't work. This pasta certainly doesn't come out the same when made with non-Japanese peaches.

Yes, the Japanese peaches are the dealbreakers, and this is why I make this pasta only in the summer in Japan, when Japanese peaches are plentiful, and I'm at my weekend house and making lunch for guests.

IT'S SUMMERTIME. AND THE LIVING IS EASY.



Summer is the time people visit each other in the weekend houses in Japan, as these are usually located in cooler climates, and everyone deserts Tokyo from about the third week of July till the end of August.

Of course, lots of people have to come back to Tokyo for work. But they're back on the highway out of Tokyo like clockwork every Friday afternoon.

THE NEED FOR AN EFFICIENT SYSTEM

With so much socializing going on in the summer in the Japanese countryside, it's essential to have an efficient entertaining system.

One day you're visiting someone's house, and another day they're at yours.



This is when I usually make an organic salad and my summer pasta with peaches as a starter for lunch, served with very cold white wine.

I have several other original pasta concoctions in my arsenal, by the way. Friends say that my vongole pasta, as well as my seafood pasta, are to die for.

But these aren't seasonal the way my summer pasta with peaches is.



And for a main course, I usually roast a chicken or bake a whole fish in salt. Then for dessert, I often make my own version of sticky toffee pudding, and I serve this with ice cream.

I'll write about my special sticky toffee pudding in a future blog entry.

This is from a lunch in South Africa.
But I make a pretty good one as well...

MY FAVORITE SUMMER PASTA

But back to my favorite summer pasta with peaches.

I'd seen a chef in Hokkaido make this many years ago, and I'd replicated it almost immediately afterwards. 

The results had been absolutely delicious. So whenever I have guests in the summer, I usually include this very easy pasta in the menu.
Basically, I marinate about a kilo of peeled and slightly overripe Fuji peaches in the best olive oil I can find, and my favorite Camargue sea salt for a few hours. 

Then I roughly chop this up and mix this with strips of the saltiest, highest quality Parma ham I can find at the local deli.



The sauce is as simple as that. 

When it's time to serve, I pour the mixture onto freshly-cooked hot pasta, and the result is a perfect hot-and-cold pasta for summer that's just wonderful especially when eaten outdoors, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.





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