I have never known apricots until I tasted them this season. I mean, *really* known them. This summer I have had a passionate love-affair with apricots straight from the Farmers' Market. Sometimes a few make it home. Their skin is soft and supple, easily dented, and sometimes barely holding in their succulent juice. You can tear them in half with no work at all, using your fingers! And to place that flesh in your mouth. . it simply melts. These fruits need no dressing up; they are a work of art in themselves. In the past, apricots have been a work-horse of dried fruits, similar to raisins, filling out trail mixes to give them some bulk, but mostly picked-over and definitely unappreciated. And then I tasted a real apricot!
When I went to the Farmers' Market this week, the guy at the apricot stand, who recognized me as a regular, informed me that this was the last week for apricots. So last night I made a special dinner for apricots, in their honor.
I braised a couple of lamb shoulder blades in chicken broth, with a few Tbs balsamic vinegar, and some red wine vinegar to round it out. And about 6 cloves of garlic, coursely chopped. With plenty of freshly ground pepper, and some sea salt. This took about 45 minutes. In an earthenware dish I roasted quartered apricots with just a pat of butter. Unbelievable. They didn't take long because they were already so soft and juicy. Roasting them gave them a gorgeous crust. To serve, I covered the lamb in a bit of the braising juice, and spread them with the apricots. Divine!
Thank you, apricots! Glad to finally know you.