The telltale smell of peaches in season dominated the local farmer market last weekend. A friend handed me one from his stall. “Try this,” he said. I sunk my teeth into the smooth flesh and, though it was still firm, the juice gushed down my chin and stained my gray t-shirt with dark drips and splotches, marking me as a greedy slob. Oh, well. Local peaches, in season, like tomatoes, are NOTHING like the dry, fibrous, flavorless, but perfectly beautiful-looking peaches imported year round. I get hit by that incredible aroma in the stores now that our produce department can get their peaches from local Michigan farmers. Here are a few different recipes to make with these wonderful peaches – though, of course, peaches are delicious on their own, and family and friends will welcome them just served tree to table.
The Classic Bellini …
… as God intended it, was invented in the 1930’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice, a bistro frequented by American artsy ex-pats like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles It’s simple to make: 2 to 1, chilled Prosecco to chilled fresh peach puree, traditionally made from white peaches. You can make a virgin version by substituting plain or peach seltzer water for the prosecco. Sure, in the winter, you can substitute peach nectar or canned peaches, but you will be disappointed!
- Chill to icy a bottle or two of LaMarca Prosecco. Chill peaches. Put your champagne flutes in the freezer.
- Just before serving, purée the ice cold peaches in your Bullet or Vitamix blender-- about 3 ripe but firm fresh local peaches per bottle--just before concocting cocktails.
- Pour 1 part peach purée into a frosty champagne flute and slowly add 2 parts chilled prosecco.
…is a no brainer, and a good time to give your teenage chef apprentices an opportunity to practice their supervised knife skills as all the ingredients are fine diced.
- 2 C fresh, firm, but ripe and flavorful fresh peaches, small diced
- 1 C summer fresh tomatoes, seeded and small dices
- 1 medium purple onion, fine diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded with white ribs removes, small diced
- 1 small jalapeño pepper seeds and white rips removed, fine diced
- ½ C cilantro, minced
- Juice of one lime
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Your favorite tortilla chips
- Put all ingredients together in a bowl, mix gently, cover and chill for at least 3-4 hours.
- Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or as a condiment for grilled chicken or fish.
…are killer, over vanilla ice cream, and drowning in Butter Rum Sauce.
To Grill Peaches:
- Cut peaches in half, leaving skins on. Remove pit and brush cut sides with canola oil.
- Place peaches cut-side down on grill, over medium heat, and cook without moving until grill marks show, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Brush skin side with oil and flip peaches carefully and cook on skin side until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
TIP: I use my grill pan if it’s raining or if am too tired to make a lump charcoal fire!
Butter Rum Sauce
- 1/3 C unsalted butte
- 1/3 C light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 C whipping cream
- ¼ C Dark or Light Rum
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan. When butter is melted, add other ingredients and bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- Continue to boil gently, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
- Serve warm over grilled peaches and your favorite vanilla ice cream. Store in fridge.
Riesling Poached Peaches…
…are elegant and refreshing, a nice finish to a summer meal. Make ahead and serve with a cheese course at the end of the meal or garnish simply with a dollop of chilled mascarpone.
- 3 C medium dry Riesling. I like to use St Julian’s, and have a chilled glass myself while cooking.
- ½ C sugar
- 4 firm but ripe fresh local peaches, halved and pitted
- 2 springs of fresh tarragon
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- In a large sauce pan, bring wine, sugar, and tarragon to a boil.
- Add peach halves and simmer for 10 minutes, turning frequently with large a slotted spoon
- Remove peaches from liquid and place in a bowl,
- Continue to boil liquid, stirring, until reduces by about half. Pour back over peaches in the bowl, cool to room temp, then cover and chill in fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
- Serve peaches in poaching liquid with a dollop of Mascarpone or Crème Fraîche from the imported cheese section in your deli.
…is a simple, roughly formed fruit tart. It has five parts. 1. The Fruit You can use anything in season, blueberries, plums, peaches, pears, apples, even tomatoes. 2. The Crust A crostada can show off your pastry making skills. Or you can adopt my hacks: Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets from the frozen food section or the premade, rolled d out, pie crusts in the dairy case. I could never recreate my North Carolina mother-in-law’s melt-in-your-mouth Crisco pie crust, so I spend the time on other things, like a glass of wine. 3. The Filling—an almond paste, a cheese spread, for example. 4. The Secret Ingredient, which gives the dish a twist. 4. The Glaze, which adds flavor and gives the tart a finished and shiny look.
- 1 14 oz. pie crust dough round or 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
- 4 oz. log of goat cheese, at room temperature, mixed with 2 TBS Michigan honey
- Pink peppercorns
- 3-4 ripe but firm fresh local peaches, pitted, sliced into wedges and tossed in a bowl with 2 TBS sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees F
- Unfold pastry dough on parchment paper atop a baking sheet, and spread with goat cheese mixture to within 2” from edge of pastry and sprinkle lightly with crushed pink peppercorns
- Place wedges of peach overlapping (in any pattern you like) on top of filling (leave bare pastry uncovered.
- Fold of pastry just barely up over edge of fruit and press down. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and slide with parchment paper onto a cooling rack.
- Melt 1/4 C jelly in microwave (10 seconds at a time) until just runny and paint entire top of peach crostada with melted jelly using a pastry brush.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a glass of this amazing sparkling peach wine:
… is a slightly effervescent wine refreshing from Provence in the south of France, made from the Airen grape and infused with the natural fresh peach juice of the white peaches grown there. It is clean light, low in alcohol and calories, fruity, but not sweet, and utterly delicious. Chill it well and serve it in a champagne flute. Perfect for brunch or at the end of a warm summer day. One of our wine customer reviewers says, “It’s Peachy keen. The peach flavor is so true that it makes me see peaches. Totally unexpected. It’s magical wine!”
Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.