Susie Jimenez: Try something different with those peaches
I retired from working “in the fields” with my family at 16 years old. The last job I had was in a peach orchard in California. Peaches have been my favorite fruit since I was a kid, and they always hold a special place in my heart and bring me back to growing up. It was not easy migrating around with my family, following the seasons and harvests throughout California. But it made me a talented chef to work within the seasons and understand how each fruit or vegetable tastes in each stage of its life.
My memories from this last orchard will never be forgotten. Not because it was my last job in the fields but because of how beautiful the center of the orchard was. There was a tree we were not supposed to pick because of the size of its fruit: The peaches on this tree were the size of my head. And even though I was asked not to, I had to. I went over and picked one during my lunch break to share with my dad. It was sweet and so ripe that I had peach juice running down my hands and arms. I was a sticky mess, but we enjoyed every bite of that peach. I laughed under that tree with my dad, and we ate the whole thing, but more importantly I was able to create a memory with my father that I had all to myself for the rest of my life.
Recently I went to Paonia with my friend to pick peaches, and not only did I get local, delicious fruit, but I walked past those trees and couldn’t help but go back in time. I wanted to pick so many. I got inspired to share some recipes that I have combined throughout the years to highlight the peach for what delicious fruit it is.
Peach, arugula and pancetta salad
2 peaches, dice (add a touch of lemon juice to stop it from turning brown)
¼ cup pancetta or bacon, small dice and cooked
3 sprigs thyme, picked
Place arugula in a bowl topped with peaches, crispy pancetta and thyme. Drizzle mustard dressing (recipe below) on top and then cracked pepper.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ tablespoon honey
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl place Dijon and whole grain mustard, honey and red wine vinegar, and whisk. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking.
Poached peaches, burrata and truffle crispy kale
2 peaches, cut in half, pit and peel removed
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons agave
1 sprig rosemary
2 cups water
1/2 pound burrata cheese
Place ingredients in a pot and cook over low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, slice peaches and place them on a platter, sprinkle kale chips (recipe below) on top and put burrata on the same platter.
Serve with crackers, warm naan bread or baguette.
1 pound kale, remove from stalk and rip into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon truffle powder
Place on a sheet pan in 400 degree oven for 13-15 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Ready to eat.
Variation 1: Place peaches inside puff pastry with the cheese and bake it.
Variation 2: Replace burrata with goat cheese, brie or epoisses.
Variation 3: The peaches can be turned into dessert by serving them with cream, ice cream or even cheesecake.
If you really want to take it to the next level, grill some ribs, chicken or brisket and serve it with this nice barbecue sauce.
Peach ancho chili bbq sauce
6 ripe peaches, pits removed and rough chopped
6 dates, remove pits
1/8 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons honey
3 cups water
¼ cup yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons ancho chili paste
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoon olive oil
Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat and cook for up to 2 hours. Blend all ingredients and pour back into the pot. Cook for another hour over low heat.
If you have a crockpot leave it in there overnight at warm temperature. The longer you cook barbecue sauce the tastier it gets.
Some other peach ideas:
1. Wrap prosciutto around them and drizzle balsamic vinegar on top.
2. Grill them and serve them with pork chops.
3. Throw them in the oven with blue cheese, then sprinkle with toasted almonds.
4. Sprinkle some lime and cayenne on top of sliced peaches.
5. Muddle them into your mojito with mint, limes and rum.
6. Puree them into your smoothie.
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