Saturn peaches look like a peach that someone sat on. They are called Saturn peaches because they look like the rings of Saturn naturally they are also called doughnut or donut peaches because they look like a ….right, donut.
They originated in China and were cultivated in the United States and Europe starting in the late 1800’s. In China peaches are considered a symbol of immortality, in Western cultures they are more known for their sexual connotations. Those of us who have been around a while may remember the Allmann Brothers album “Eat a Peach”, or “Love them Georgia Peaches” from Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Regardless of their history, they taste simply wonderful. They aren’t hairy like a peach, they are however sweeter, some say they have an almond flavor, they are lower in acid and firmer when cutting them or removing the pit.
These Prunus Persica of the Platycarpa variation are readily available in Europe and in the States and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to add a pizzazz of taste, texture and color.
I have developed several recipes which I will be presenting here – my favorite of which is a variation called the “Leaning Tower of Tomato and Peach” – Saturn or donut peaches, tomatoes, basil towers with mozzarella or goat cheese crisps. The goat cheese chip variation is good for those who are lactose intolerant.
They look really pretty and the tastes explode in your mouth and. They can also be made as a “family cooking event” where each family member receives a plate of ingredients and then builds his or her own tower – comparisons of the finished product are part of the fun and then you need to knock them down to eat them. Great fun!
Truly yum and more……
Saturn or donut peaches, tomato and basil with mozzarella or goat cheese crisps towers – recipe below
Saturn or donut peaches, tomato and basil with mozzarella or goat cheese crisps towers
For “leaning towers” with mozzarella:
1 large round meaty tomato per person
1 ripe Saturn or donut peach per person
1 large bouquet of fresh basil leaves
1-2 balls of buffalo mozzarella
Fresh Parmesan or pure Pecorino without cow milk for those who are lactose-intolerant
2 squeezes of your favorite honey
½ lime squeezed
1 TBSP of sherry vinegar
2 spritzers of your favorite chili hot sauce (ours if extra hot tropical chili sauce from Marble Hills in Roatan, Honduras)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP Olive oil
Optional additions: ½-1 espresso spoon of pepperoni paste (substitute with 3-4 drops of Tabasco), homemade basil pesto, fig mustard, pomegranate sour syrup
Putting it all together
- Mix the dressing by stirring all the ingredients together in a breakfast bowl with a small wire whisk with or without all or some of the additional options– adding the oil last. Set aside.
- Slice the tomatoes from top to bottom in equal slices of approx. ½ cm thickness. Set on a plate. Then separate the peaches by cutting once around the natural seam, remove the pit and slice in equal slices similar to the tomatoes but somewhat thinner. Place on the plate next to the tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella ball in half and then slice into equal slices similarly to the tomatoes and peaches. Set aside.
- Remove the nicest, largest basil leaves from their stems, wash and dry or whirl them in the salad dryer. You should have as many leaves as tomato slices. Set aside.
- Place a soup plate in front of you. Place the sliced tomatoes, peaches and mozzarella in easy reach. Use a pastry brush to mix the dressing again and use it in the next steps.
- Place the top tomato slice (where the stem was connected) top down in the soup plate. Brush it with dressing, place a slice of peach on top of it followed by a mozzarella slice and a leaf of basil. Now place the next slice of tomato on top and brush it with the dressing, followed by a slice of peach, mozzarella and a basil leaf, etc. repeating the steps until your tomato tower is complete. Using both hand press gently to help it stay together and to correct any precarious leaning.
- If each family member is doing his/her own then leave each tower in its own soup plate; if serving on a platter – transfer the tower to the platter.
- Now drizzle some dressing over the top of the towers and using the grater on its smallest size, freshly grate the parmesan or pecorino all over the tower so it looks like it snowed.
For “leaning towers” with goat cheese crisps:
Ingredients for the crisps
70-100 grams of hard goat cheese very finely grated
Freshly-ground black pepper
Optional: finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and/or sage
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 180 degree Celsius.
- Line a baking sheet with baking/parchment paper
- Mound about 1 good tablespoon of grated goat cheese at a time spaced onto the sheet so you have about 12-16 mounds per baking sheet
- Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon and grind fresh pepper on each mound; sprinkle a pinch of herbs on top of each if using
- Place in the oven for ca. 5 minutes – cheese should melt into flat, lacy crisps slightly browned but watch to not burn.
- Remove from oven – let rest 5 minutes and transfer with a spatula to a grate to cool – if you feel they have too much fat on the bottom then place the crisps on paper towel for several minutes.
- Put tomato towers together as in the recipe above, using the goat cheese crisps instead of the mozzarella slices.
Et voila! Serve as an appetizer with chilled rosé and crusty roasted Italian country bread or French baguette.