How’s that song go? “Millions of peaches, peaches for all the meals during summertime?" No? Well, that’s how I remember it. 

This article is dedicated to all things peaches! When I get my hands on good peaches, all I want to do is use them for every meal. I know using fruit for savory dishes sounds odd, but trust me, these dishes are worth it. 

The great thing about using in-season fruit and vegetables is that not only are they better-tasting and fresh, but they’re usually cheaper, too. And with Arkansas being dense with farms and farmers’ markets, there’s no reason for you to not go out at least one weekend and support a local farm and treat yourself to their amazing produce. Who knows, you might turn it into a regular thing and make a few farmer friends (which I highly recommend).

Without further ado, here are all the peach recipes! Instead of just one recipe, this month I’m providing three. Actually five, because there are recipes for glazes and a salad dressing, too! Lucky you!

 

Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Ricotta

This is such a great appetizer for parties! You can even add some thinly sliced prosciutto or bresaola to add another layer of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ripe peaches, sliced
  • French or sourdough bread, toasted and cut into bite-sized slices
  • 1/2 to 1 cup ricotta
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • fresh basil leaves (about 5-10 depending on how much you’d like)
  • balsamic glaze to drizzle over crostini 

For the balsamic glaze:

  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp. brown sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Make the balsamic glaze: Simmer together balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Simmer on low heat for about 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.

  2. Whip the ricotta with the honey, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and spread on top of the toasted bread slices.

  3. Top with peach slices (you can use fresh peaches or slightly roasted peaches).

  4. Top with chopped basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

 

Grilled Peach & Goat Cheese Salad

I absolutely love this fresh salad! It comes together pretty quickly because I keep the vinaigrette ready to go. 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ripe but firm peaches
  • mixed greens (add arugula to the mix, too)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup or more of champagne vinaigrette 

For the champagne vinaigrette: 

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. good dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Slice and grill peaches quickly just to give them a slight char and smoky taste. Set aside.

  2. Make the dressing: mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.

  3. Assemble salad. Add the salad greens to a salad bowl and layer with berries of choice, nuts, goat cheese and grilled peaches.

  4. Drizzle champagne vinaigrette over the top and mix gently. Enjoy with a roasted chicken or light fish.

 

Peach Cobbler

I got this recipe from a friend’s wife when I was attempting Southern style cooking for the first time decades ago. I love this one because it feels like home to me now because I’ve added my own touches and tweaks. The great thing about recipes is they live on even after the person who showed you the way has passed on. Thank you for this one, Mrs. Oliver.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of sliced fresh peaches
  • 3/4 cups each brown and white sugar (reduce if your peaches are extra sweet, increase a bit if they’re still tart)
  • 2 tsp. good vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp. water 
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the cobbler topping:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup each of brown and white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. sugar for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a baking dish.

  2. In the dish, add in the peaches, the sugars, the extracts, spices, corn starch, butter, water and lemon juice. Mix it well and then cover with foil and cook covered for about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.

  3. While peaches are in the oven, make the cobbler topping. Mix all the ingredients and cut in the cold butter. Mix it until the butter is crumbly.

  4. Add in the hot water and stir until it comes together like biscuit dough.

  5. Take out the peaches and drop the cobbler topping on top of the peaches every few inches until covered.

  6. Sprinkle the tops with the sugar and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until dough is cooked through.

  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit