Peaches are one of the best fresh fruits of summer. Whether you grow them at home or grab a bag from your local store, there are so many ways to enjoy this juicy fruit all summer long. From jams and jellies to additions to nearly any type of sweet or savory dish, there are a ton great ways to use fresh peaches in your cooking. Here are three fun dishes to explore at your next backyard barbecue or special romantic evening at home.
Grilled Peaches With Ham And Arugula
Grilling peaches is a great way to add a burst of flavor to your dish. The combination of the salty ham and bitter arugula with the sweet sugar syrup and fresh peaches hits just about every flavor note in your mouth. Be sure to serve this one right away, as it’s best right from the grill. Peeling the peaches is optional, but they are usually better grilled without the fuzzy skin.
- 5 large peaches
- 15 slices smoked ham
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head arugula
- 1 cup simple syrup
- Before you begin, make a simple syrup from equal parts water and sugar. Simply head until all the ingredients are dissolved. Set aside.
- Preheat your grill to medium heat.
- Peel and slice each peach into thirds and slice your ham into strips.
- Wrap each piece of peach with a slice of ham and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and pepper to taste.
- Grill in small batches on the preheated grill, making sure the ham is caramelized.
- Serve over fresh arugula and drizzle liberally with the simply syrup and more pepper.
Peach, Tomato And Mozzarella Salad
If you like a classic Caprese salad, you’ll love this peachy twist. A traditional Caprese is a simple combination of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with some type of dressing, usually vinaigrette. This spin includes fresh peaches and salty pecans to amp up the flavor even more. Let this one marinate in the fridge for an hour or two before serving to really let the flavors combine well. It’s perfect as a side dish for a big backyard barbecue or if you’re wanting a quick dish to impress someone special.
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 4 large peaches, peeled and sliced into quarters
- 4 large tomatoes, sliced into quarters
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper
- Toast the chopped pecans lightly in a dry pan for just a minute until the aroma is strong. Careful not to over-cook as they can burn quickly. Pull from heat and set aside.
- Combine honey, vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss together.
- Drizzle the dressing liberally over the salad, tossing together lightly.
- Sprinkle with pecans and serve chilled.
Grilled Lavender Vanilla Peaches
Of course, peaches are also a tasty dessert, especially during those warm summer months. Sure, you can eat them plain, with that fresh juice dripping down your chin, or you can opt for something a little fancier, like this recipe inspired by a classic Martha Stewart favorite. These grilled lavender vanilla peaches are amazing over ice cream or in a bowl by themselves. Save some and serve over yogurt the next morning for an extra sweet treat to kick start your day!
- 8 peaches
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 spring fresh lavender, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (the higher-quality the better)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- Peel and slice peaches.
- Preheat your grill to high.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the peaches and toss to coat.
- Make small packets out of foil, place peaches in the packets.
- Stir the brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lavender and salt with two teaspoons of water.
- Brush sugar mixture over peaches and seal the foil packet by folding the edges over.
- Grill for 15 minutes.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream for a fresh dessert.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.