Peaches: Good to the Last Slice
Early summer peaches get lots of attention but the ones available now at farmers markets and grocery stores are the best I’ve had in years.
Of course I ripen them in a brown paper bag with a black-spotted banana (to hasten ripening) until they are soft and indecently sweet. A quick dip in boiling water facilitates slipping skins off.
These super-sweet white or yellow, cling or freestone peaches deserve last hurrah preparations. If you haven’t made peach shortcake yet, do: a simple extra-large homemade biscuit (add a few tablespoons of sugar to dough), split, filled with peaches and topped with softly whipped cream is a dessert to remember. I like to stew peach slices in spiced apple cider until very tender and the cider is reduced. Spoon this over toasted bakery pound cake and/or vanilla ice cream for another standout.
A few bruised or overripe peaches, peeled, chopped and sprinkled with maple syrup (let mixture stand at room temperature for an hour to release juices) Make a summery topping for French toast. Another memorable dessert: make a batch of 8-inch crepes (impressive but easy, with any recipe). Spread warm crepes lightly with whipped cream cheese. Roll crepes around thinly sliced peaches. Sift confectioners’ sugar over roll-ups.
Perk up a pork, poultry or fish meal with peach salsa: Peel three or four ripe tomatoes and an equal amount of ripe peaches by the boiling water method. Cut into chunks. Add a seeded, chopped fresh jalapeno or a tablespoon (or less) of chopped jalapenos from a can or jar. Stir in ¼ cup tomato or orange juice. Simmer until fruits are soft, stirring often. Raise heat and boil off liquid if too much accumulates. Season with salt and a scant teaspoon of sugar. Serve this flavorful salsa over brown rice or couscous to your visiting vegetarian, who won’t miss the barbecue a bit.
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.
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