When it comes to food moments that symbolize summer, right up there with spitting out watermelon seeds and nibbling on buttery sweet corn is biting into a ripe, fuzzy, just-picked peach and trying to finish it without the juices dripping down your chin. But this summer, dare to eat a peach in some way you haven’t tried before. Our editors and some favorite chefs have turned up creative ways to incorporate this succulent stone fruit into every aspect of a meal, from a cold soup to a shellfish sauce to a sweet side to a variety of meats, and of course, dessert. We hope you’ll find a new favorite way to enjoy peaches among this set of recipes!
For an easy way to beat the heat this summer, try this refreshing fruit soup, which comes together in just 10 minutes in the blender and makes even the most novice of chefs look like a star. This sweet treat blends ripe peaches with yogurt, honey, cream and lime juice, gaining sophistication with the addition of fresh ginger and basil. After it’s chilled, top it with a grown-up honey-rum whipped cream, mint and sliced peaches. Enjoy this with a lighter-style, minerally rosé, and chill out!
You might not immediately think of oysters and peaches as complementary flavors, but this recipe (part of a larger menu from Hog Island Oyster Co.) proves shellfish and fruit can make a dynamic duo. The dish is prepared by placing Sweetwater or other Pacific oysters directly on a grill and topping them with a homemade barbeque sauce blended with grilled or roasted peaches, which add a smoky sweetness that rounds out the brine from the oyster and the vinegar in sauce. What you end up with is a sweet yet savory (and totally slurpable) meal, perfect for summer entertaining.
Like many great chefs, Morgan Mueller of the Butcher's Table, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner in Seattle, knows the importance of locally sourced ingredients and cooking with the seasons. Here he has created a simple-yet-sophisticated salad built around summer stone fruits, like peaches. To balance the sweetness of the fruit, Mueller adds bitter radicchio, salty pistachios and prosciutto and a sharp, nutty aged cheddar, then dresses the salad with a tangy Sherry vinaigrette. With so many flavors happening, wine director Jason Sanneman turns to Champagne as a safe bet, opting for the fruity, bright Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blanc NV to bring the whole dish into balance.
Maybe you already regularly add peaches to your salads, but what about grilled peaches? Here peach wedges are brushed with olive oil and grilled for a savory touch, then placed on a bed of arugula and mint and accompanied by dollops of burrata and candied pistachios. The dressing—made with vinegar, olive oil and brown sugar—echoes the candied nuts. A light, zesty South African blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Sémillon made a good pick, mixing sweet citrus and orchard fruit with some herbal elements that echoed the dish nicely. This salad is easily customizable, allowing plenty of room for seasonal additions and substitutions, and can easily be turned into a main course by adding chicken or another protein—so make it your own!
This flavorful dish pulls together three summer favorites—peaches, corn and tomatoes—into a twist on a traditional succotash, letting the succulent, sweet, fresh produce shine without requiring much work. Quick-cooking ham steaks are topped with this thyme-accented mixture for a delicious balance of savory, sweet and herbal flavors. The dish is finished with a light drizzle of a tangy gastrique, a simple sauce made from boiled peaches, sugar and Champagne vinegar. A Viognier-based white from the Côtes du Rhône had the fruit to harmonize with the peaches, along with heady floral notes and hints of minerality and herbs that made a compelling combination with the food.
This recipe dates back to the 1950s when Robert C. Baker, a Cornell University professor of poultry and food science, wanted to encourage people to eat more chicken as a healthy alternative to red meat. From there, “Cornell Chicken” was born, becoming a classic cookout meal in upstate New York. To recreate this Northern take on barbecue, marinate skin-on chicken in oil, vinegar, poultry seasoning, egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and grill it for 45 minutes, aiming for a slight char on the skin. While this can be served with any number of sides, in the height of summer, go for a salty-sweet combination by adding grilled peaches. Since the dish originates in the Finger Lakes, try it with a local Riesling or Gewurztraminer.
At Charcoal Venice, a grill-centric restaurant in Los Angeles, 90 percent of the food they serve is cooked over fire—including the desserts. "When you're grilling in summertime, you usually eat a lot, so dessert has to be light and refreshing," says chef Josiah Citrin—and that’s what makes this dish a great fit for your next backyard barbecue. In this easy-to-pull-together dessert, part of a full menu from Citrin, grilled peaches are served over yogurt, drizzled with maple syrup and then sprinkled with quinoa or granola for a slight crunch. A sweet Vouvray from France’s Loire Valley, or another Chenin Blanc with peach notes and racy acidity, makes just the right foil with which to end the meal.