Fresh fruit compote is worth the bug bites

Peach-Blackberry Compote takes advantage of fresh peaches and blackberries for a summer treat.

Peach-Blackberry Compote takes advantage of fresh peaches and blackberries for a summer treat.

Robin McDaniel is a community columnist for Blount Today and writes the weekly column - In The Kitchen. Every week she prepares or collaborates on a recipe then cooks and photographs the dish for Blount Today. Robin must consider it a labor of love. You can certainly see the love and care she puts into In the Kitchen each week.

Never let it be said I haven’t suffered for my craft. There is just something about the summer season that makes one long for “fresh.” I found myself longing for a recipe that combined in-season fruit and berries, and found this Peach-Blackberry Compote with Basil Syrup that sounded perfect.

So where did the suffering come in? Not in calories or time spent slaving away at a difficult recipe. No, the suffering came about because “fresh” means picking, and I fought through wasps, chiggars, briars and poison ivy to bring this recipe to the table!

I have to say, however, it was worth it. With help from The Food Network, I have added this light and sophisticated dish to my recipe book and am happy to share it with Blount Today readers. I wasn’t sure about the basil, because I find basil to be somewhat strong in flavor. A little research before I offered my hard-won fresh fruit to this syrup, however, and I learned that fresh basil is a natural compliment to peaches.

When I tried it, I found the basil adds just a subtle flavor and the combination is wonderful.

So put on a straw hat, long sleeve shirt, spray on a little bug repellant and find your nearest blackberry patch. This recipe can also be found on EatingWell.com. Level of preparation: Easy; prep time: 20 minutes with an additional 30 minutes of cook time. Serving size is four 1-cup servings.

Peach-Blackberry Compote with Basil Syrup

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons dry white wine

3 sprigs fresh basil, plus more for garnish

2 2-1/2 inch strips orange zest

3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (3-4 medium)

1 cup fresh blackberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Add 3 basil sprigs and orange zest.

Stir to immerse. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Strain syrup into a small bowl, pressing on basil and zest to release maximun flavor.

Shortly before serving, combine peaches, blackberries, lemon juice and basil-infused syrup in a serving bowl, toss gently to coat. Serve garnished with basil sprigs.

Tip: To peel peaches, dip in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds to loosen their skins. Let cool slightly, then slip off skins with paring knife.

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