Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recipe: Grilled Saturn Peaches

After weeks of waiting and praying, at last they arrive! Squashy peaches!

They’re actually called Saturn peaches or donut peaches, but my little ones call them squashy peaches because of their flattened shape. Whatever the name, we tried them last year out of curiosity and ended up consuming about fifty pounds of them in the two weeks that was left of harvest season. They are frost-hardy, which explains why they grow here in Yakima but does NOT explain why we had never heard of nor tasted them in California. Just another reason not to live there, I guess.

Let me describe this fruit, as if I could do it justice with mere words. Normal peaches are tasty, but always either a little too acidic or a lot too mushy. They are awkward to eat because of their size; you can’t get your mouth around them and therefore must choose between a face full of peach juice and smeared lip gloss (not happening) or a half-hour of nibbling at them while carefully holding them away from your clothing (my preferred method). The squashy peach is sweet and firm at the same time—alleluia—and, being squashy, fits comfortably into your mouth. Even better, the taste is like distilled peach flavor. It’s peach schnapps without the schnapps. It’s the peach to which you have been unknowingly comparing other peaches, the archetype. Clearly our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to consume as many as possible before they are no longer available.

So my daughter and I cleaned out three separate farmer stalls last Sunday (slight exaggeration), and once I tired of eating them plain, I wiggled into my PMS jeans and went back to buy another twenty pounds for cooking. But what to do with them? I could not bring myself to throw such a noble fruit in the tarts, pies, and cobblers that we use to disguise the inferiority of other peaches. Squashy peaches deserve a preparation method that showcases their virtues. Like a good cut of beef, only the grill can do them justice.

Grilled Saturn Peaches

6 Saturn peaches
½ cup honey
Optional: cinnamon or fresh ginger

1. Heat grill to medium and brush with oil.
2. Prepare peaches by cutting them in half top to bottom and removing the stone, then cutting across from side to side. You should end up with four flat peach slices.
3. Grill cut side down for one minute, then turn and repeat.
4. Remove from grill and drizzle with honey. If desired, grate cinnamon over the top or sprinkle with very finely grated fresh ginger.

Serves 3 people, or me.

Mmmm. Dolcessima!

Is that a word?

If you have something against grilling (you freak of nature), you can sauté them in butter instead of grilling. Just think of a stir-fry, but with butter and peaches where the oil and veggies should be. Don’t forget the honey treatment afterward.