I remember precisely the view when I opened my eyes that first morning.
My growing realization as the white plaster wall came into focus, that I'd finally found my way to my dream of the Greek island of Evia. Stories of this magic place had enlivened my imagination since adolescence. I was expecting the exotic beauty, the beloved friends, the splendid joys of the island unfolding before me.
What I wasn't expecting, however, was the overwhelming, sweet aroma wafting from the kitchen where a sublime treat was gently bubbling away in preparation for our first Greek breakfast.
Before too long, our party assembled on the porch, hankering after mugs of dark coffee and earthy yogurt brought up the hill from the village in large crockery bowls. To my delight, one of our number had resumed her apparently normal island habit of rising early and starting a magnificent fruit compote to bake in the bowels of the ancient and enormous kitchen stove. While the lazy slug-a-beds completed the luxury of a completely quiet, completely restful sleep, little did we know that alchemy was going on back there. That a simple stone fruit, to which I'd previously never paid much attention, was being transformed into solid gold.
Fast forward to my own kitchen here in Richmond. When I spotted the apricots in the grocery store the other day, it all came flooding back. If I couldn't be in Greece, then at least I could have myself a proper Greek breakfast, or at least magically transport myself there through the wonder of culinary tinkering.
To quote Eric Cantor, our recently defeated house majority leader, in his high school yearbook, "I want what I want when I want it." so the slow cook method wasn't going to fly. Instead, I came up with this speedy recipe from Jean-George Vongerichten, which, with a little tweaking, had me virtually bobbing and blobbing on the Aegean in no time.
So don't just sail on by those dear little fresh apricots the next time you see them in the market. Grab those unassuming orbs and make this, because, who knew? You've heard of a golden parachute, but these little darlings are a golden passport.
makes 2 cups
1 pound firm, ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 -3 tablespoons honey
Greek yogurt for serving
fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (optional)
Combine apricots, lime juice in a large skillet and drizzle the honey on top. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill for up to 1 day. Serve with yogurt and garnish with a tiny sprinkle of rosemary if desired.
--Adapted from a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Dan Kluger