We are certainly in the Dog Days of Summer. The temperature has stayed miserably high since June though finally seems properly aligned being almost mid August. I’ve been out later in the evening the past few nights and have found the temperature sublime. It’s the type of temperature that hangs heavy in the air encouraging sitting on city stoops with a cold drink and no purpose other than to enjoy the laziness of the moment as the hazy purple dusk fades to dark. Time seems to slow and you can’t imagine anything more important than just sitting and soaking it in knowing it is all too fleeting.
I find my mind wandering as well to new concoctions using summer produce. In August we are all lavished by the crescendo of the bounty, with almost too much to know what to make. This year has held some curve balls as we are in a 50 year drought and the heat has wrecked havoc with farmer’s planting plans.
When I returned from our recent road trip to the Canadian Rockies I was excited knowing our dwarf peach tree (so burdened with peaches I had propped it up with several 2 x 4’s before departing) would be fully ripe. Though almost full size when we departed the peaches were still rock hard. The morning after we returned I bounded into the backyard to marvel at our harvest to find not even one peach on the tree. Our neighbors burgeoning crab apple tree stood beside the peach tree so full its branches had reached over our fence and were touching the ground, all fruit intact. After some consulting with neighbors about possible mysterious weather conditions and other peach tree owning friends, we concluded it was the squirrels who had begun to violate our fruit before our trip that were responsibility for our now naked tree. Like thieves in the night they will strip an entire tree supposedly not leaving the most subtle clue.
I shook that off not being able to do anything about it and forged ahead with glorious peaches from our CSA share to grill up a favorite invention to date: Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa. My thinking about this was somewhat inter woven with an additional recipe I’ll be sharing soon but the thought of freshly grilled peaches and grilled corn tossed into a salsa was something I was dying to try. The result exceeded my expectations and it will be in high rotation as long as peaches and corn are in season. My family mowed through it as well!
GRILLED PEACH & CORN SALSA
Yield: 2 ½ cups
· 2 large, ripe but firm freestone* Peaches, peeled
· 2 ears of Corn, husked with silk removed
· Olive oil (to coat for grilling)
· 1-2 Serrano peppers+, deseeded, membranes removed and diced
· 1 large Jalapeno pepper, deseeded, membranes removed and diced
· ½ cup Cilantro, chopped
· 1/2 large, Red Onion, chopped (approximately ½ cup)
· Juice of 1 lime
· Salt and Pepper to taste
*Freestone peaches do not cling to the pit making it easy to slice and pop out the pit. If unsure, ask the produce person or farmer where you purchase your peaches.
+’Heat’ from chiles is very personal. I suggest making the salsa with 1 serrano and 1 jalapeno if you are unsure and adding more if you want it.
1. Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Place a pot of water on the stove top large enough to submerge the corn and bring to a boil.
2. Slice peaches in half vertically, remove pit keeping fruit intact. Slice each peach in half once more vertically to yield 4 large, thick slices per peach. Lightly brush each side of the peach slices with olive oil and place on clean grill grate. Cook only 2 minutes per side. Grill marks should be noted but the peaches should not fully cook. They should still be firm. Remove and set aside. Let rest while grilling the corn.
3. Place corn into boiling water and turn off the heat. Let corn sit in the water for 5 minutes. Removed and pat dry. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill for 4-5 minutes turning as soon as char marks appear. Remove and set aside to cool.
Tips for removing corn from the cob intact: A few summers ago a dear friend gave me what is now one of the handful of kitchen devices I’d grab if ever fleeing a natural disaster. By Kuhn Rikon this Corn Zipper effortlessly removes whole kernels in perfect form with one swoop of the tool down the length of the cob. It can be found online (Amazon.com, Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and more). Additionally Chef Jenna Johansen had a great tip. Take a large mixing bowl; place a smaller mixing bowl upside down in the larger bowl. Place the large, flat end of the cob (assuming you don’t have part of the stalk still on the cob) on the top of the smaller upside down bowl. Using a large sharp kitchen knife cut off the kernels that will fall into the larger bowl now ready for your use.
4. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cob and add to a large mixing bowl. Cut peaches into small pieces and add to the mixing bowl.
5. Add remaining ingredients to mixing bowl. Gently stir ingredients to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Devour!