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Season Stepp: Peaches are a summertime treat |

Season Stepp: Peaches are a summertime treat

Peaches are one of the South’s greatest summertime treasures. The recipe options for peaches are nearly endless. Sweet or savory; main course, salad, or snack; peaches are one of nature’s most perfect fruits. Not only are they incredibly nutritious, but just the smell of a fresh, ripe peach is sure to bring a smile to any face.


Peaches, like most fruits, are bursting with nutritional value. An average peach contains only about 40 calories and is nearly fat free. They are packed with fiber and potassium, as well as vitamin A and antioxidants which may help prevent many types of cancers. It is also believed that eating peaches can improve skin complexion, regulate digestive issues, and improve eyesight. Peach consumption also has been linked to the improvement of asthma, urinary stones, bronchitis, and high blood pressure.

For years, I peeled peaches the hard way. I had heard of blanching peaches to remove the skin but thought it was too much work. I was then, however, faced with about 8 quarts of peaches that needed to be peeled in a hurry. Just like blanching tomatoes to remove the skin, lots of ripe peaches can be quickly and easily peeled. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a simmer. Use a sharp paring knife to score a shallow ‘X’ in the bottom of each ripe peach and place the peaches, one at a time, to the simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, the skin of the peaches should slide right off.

Peach Salsa

• 3 ripe peaches, washed, pitted, and diced (peeling optional)

• 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

• 1/2 white or red onion, diced

• 1/2 red bell pepper: ribs and seeds removed; diced

• 1 lime, zested and juiced

• 1 jalapeno: ribs and seeds removed; minced

• 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

• 1 garlic clove, pressed or peeled and grated

• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

• 2 tablespoons orange juice

• 2 tablespoons honey

 

Combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with kosher salt and lemon or lime juice.

 

 

Peach Upside-Down Cake

• 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

• 1 cup brown sugar, packed

• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg*

• 1 large peach, pitted, peeled and sliced, plus 1/2 cup, mashed

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

• 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature

• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

• 1 egg, room temperature

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inner sides of a large cast iron skillet or 2 small. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mash together 2 tablespoons butter with brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread on the bottom of the cast iron skillet(s). Arrange sliced peaches in on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together remaining 6 tablespoons butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar. Beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

Add to the stand mixer a third of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do Not Over Mix. Add 1/4 cup mashed peaches and mix until just combined. Add another third of the flour mixture and combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup mashed peaches, and finished with the remaining flour.

Pour batter on top of the arranged peaches. If using 2 small skillets, divide batter between the two. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the center no longer jiggles, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate or platter.

*Buy whole nutmeg nuts and keep stored airtight for up to two years. When needed, freshly grate using a fine microplane grater or zester.

Season Stepp can be reached at season28@aol.com.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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