By this point in the season, markets and farm stands are literally ripe with summer produce, and if you are any collector of seasonality you may find that the fruits of your kitchen labor have left you just one pie shy of a trip to the dentist. Not something, I might add, that one typically seeks to cross off a summer bucket list as September looms.
Before you cobble together one more crumble, crisp, or slump, (yes, this is a thing,) consider this: Functionally speaking, peaches are basically tomatoes with a fruitier attitude. Acidity and sweetness, juicy, pulpy flesh—on paper they are interchangeable, so why not on the plate?
Look no further than the tomato’s typical star vehicle—the simple yet flawless Caprese—for validation of the peach’s worthiness to fill its shoes. Mozzarella and basil are fully willing to hang, with a lightened, aromatic vinaigrette made from white balsamic. Get our Peach Caprese Salad recipe.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between a Peach and a Nectarine?
Anything worth grilling is worth grilling on a stick, says me, and fruit and herbs are no exception. Sage is a woefully underutilized dance partner for peaches, bringing an earthy note to the scene, and as an accompaniment for chicken sausage, why should apples get all the fun? Get our Grilled Chicken Sausages with Peach Sage Skewers recipe.
Can you think of any reason not to use up some extra peaches to make a big batch of this sweet, sticky, spicy barbecue sauce to slather all over all manner of meats while grill season holds through September? Yeah, me neither. Get this Whiskey Peach Barbecue Sauce recipe.
I can scarcely recall a dinner table in my youth where pork chops didn’t comfortably share the playground with applesauce. Here, peaches that are pan-fried alongside the chops bring a firmer texture and a robust sweetness to contrast the light spiciness from Chinese five-spice powder. Get this Pan Fried Five Spice Pork and Peaches recipe.
Sweet Tea Rice with Jalapeño, Peaches, and Pecans
Imagine a Mediterranean rice salad studded with dried apricots and almonds and aromatic with fresh parsley. Now dress each component up like a Southern belle, including fresh peaches in the role of apricots, and the result, bless your heart, is this gem of a side dish. Get this Sweet Tea Rice with Jalapeño, Peaches, and Pecans recipe.
Here’s another vehicle where tomatoes usually get star billing, though in this fresh and lively salsa they seem more than willing to feature a co-star by way of peaches. Possible other hit ingredients for a summer blockbuster to include a picnic blanket and a bucket of fried chicken. Get our Peach, Tomato, and Sweet Onion Salsa recipe.
Peaches and peas have little in common, besides their first three letters. One pulpy and sweet, the other vegetal and starchy, how can they possibly find common ground? Fortunately, this savory coconut curry provides a safe space where they can come together and work out their differences. Get this Thai Curried Chicken with Peaches recipe.
So many things are good on their own, but don’t always come together harmoniously in a dish. This is not one of those cases. Peaches, grilled shrimp, rustic bread, and avocados have an almost surprising affinity in this hearty salad, best explained by the principles of attractive opposites. Get this Grilled Shrimp, Peach, and Bread Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette recipe.
Take the beautiful peach caprese salad as described above. Fry the mozzarella, and put the entire thing on top of a burger. Finish by standing on the edge of your deck and proclaiming yourself the rightful king or queen of summer. Get this Fried Mozzarella and Caramelized Peach Caprese Burger recipe.