Words to describe peaches: Fuzzy. Fragrant. Perfumed. Juicy. Perfect.
Maybe that last word is all we need. When a peach is at the height of ripeness (a stage between too firm and squishy that sometimes seems to last for about 7 seconds), it is truly the perfect fruit. The peach’s aroma and flavor and the interactively drippy experience of eating it become visceral, calling out a primal satisfaction that other fruits only aspire to.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
So when peaches are at their best, it’s smart to take full advantage and not only eat them leaning over the sink or with a napkin stuffed in your collar as an impromptu bib (is that just me?) but also cook with them.
Here’s a three-course meal made with some of Cook’s Country’s best peach recipes.
Peach First Course
We start with Peach Caprese Salad, which swaps out the traditional tomatoes and balsamic vinegar for sliced peaches and lemon juice. The mozzarella, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil remain. Is it good? Here’s what a few of our digital subscribers have said.
“Loved this recipe. We like traditional Caprese salad, but this takes it to a whole new level. Very light and refreshing.” –Antoine D.
“This simple salad was delicious! Just what we are looking for on the hot days of summer!” –Kathy C.
“I’ve made this several times for guests and it’s always a hit! Very quick to pull together yet looks elegant on a platter.” –Susan P.
Peach Caprese SaladThis fresh take on an old standard should become a summertime classic in its own right.
How to Accelerate Ripening Peaches
Like bananas, avocados, apples, pears, and melons, peaches are climacteric fruits, which means they continue to ripen once picked. To speed up ripening, you can place a climacteric fruit in a paper bag with a piece of ripe fruit, which will produce ethylene gas that will hasten the ripening.
Peach Main Course
For the main course, we turn to cooking outside with our Peach-Glazed Grilled Chicken. This recipe employs a bit of culinary smarts and technique to produce grilled chicken with real peach flavor.
You start by salting the chicken in advance (also called dry brining) so that it is well seasoned and less apt to dry out during cooking. Then, you add a cup of cayenne-seasoned peach preserves to a disposable roasting pan and place 3 pounds of chicken parts, plus a jalapeño and a halved fresh peach, on top. You smoke the contents of the pan with indirect heat until the chicken is almost done and then move the chicken parts, peach halves, and chile over the direct heat to char. You pull everything from the grill, chop the fresh grilled peach and chile, and add them to the glazy preserve mixture, which becomes the serving sauce.
The resulting chicken is deeply seasoned, lightly sweet, fruity, and truly outstanding.
Peach-Glazed Grilled ChickenToo many recipes for peach-glazed grilled chicken give you chicken that’s scorched or sickeningly sweet—or both. We wanted nicely glazed, unimpeachably peachy grilled chicken.
Our Fried Peach Pies feature a sweet but balanced filling, a buttery but sturdy dough, and a handheld portability that makes dessert (or breakfast or afternoon coffee) that much more fun. They are delightful and taste like summer.
These fried pies are what turnovers hope to grow into, and they are inspired by the ones we tried at Peach Park in Clanton, Alabama. The crust is tender and the filling is sweet and fruit-forward. Follow along as Cook’s Country’s Bryan Roof makes them on video.