Fine Cooking (August/September 2012)
Fresh peach season is one of our absolute favorite times of year at the farmers market. But it's September now, which means fresh peaches are quickly dwindling from produce stands.
Depending on where you live, though, you might still be able to find a few stragglers from your favorite peach farmer.
And you know what that means: Ruuuuuuuun!!!
Lord knows we love a peach-and-bacon combo. And we really like this method of sugar roasting, which helps bring out the caramelization in the fruit.
These peaches make a very fine dessert, served all by themselves on a plate. But Fine Cooking also has some great-sounding recipes that incorporate the sugar roasted peaches, whether you're looking for a savory or sweet dish:
- Mixed Green Salad with Sugar-Roasted Peaches, Crunchy Seeds, and Creamy Goddess Dressing
- Pork Chops with Sugar-Roasted Peaches, Fennel, and Cheddar Grits
- Sugar-Roasted Peach and Cornbread Sundaes with Bacon Syrup
- Sugar-Roasted Peaches with Burrata and Honey
How espeically great do those pork chops sound? Fennel + cheddar grits? Swoon.
We'll be honest: If you can still find high quality farm-fresh peaches in your area, don't bother with this recipe. It's a waste of a great, fresh peach. You're better off eating the fruit raw, the sweet juice running down your chin as you ponder the final waning days of summer 2012 (you technically still have 9 days left).
But if the only peaches you can find are at the grocery store -- peaches that would really benefit from a little extra sugar and bacon -- this sugar roasting is a good way to go. It's a rather nice way to amp up the peaches you buy at the store, to tide you over until next summer.
2 slices thick-cut bacon
4 ripe semi-firm medium peaches (about 8 oz. each), halved and pitted
2 tsp. raw sugar, such as demerara or turbinado
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large sprigs fresh summer or winter savory, thyme, or rosemary
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour the bacon fat from the skillet into a small heatproof bowl, leaving a slick of fat in the skillet; you’ll need 4 tsp. reserved fat. (If you don’t have enough, make up the difference with extra-virgin olive oil.) Raise the heat under the skillet to medium high.
Sprinkle the cut sides of the peaches evenly with the sugar and a tiny pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange the peaches in the skillet cut side down and tuck the herbs around them. Tear the bacon slices in quarters and tuck the pieces around the peaches. Drizzle 2 tsp. of the reserved bacon fat evenly over the peaches and let them cook undisturbed until the cut sides begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the uncut sides of the peaches with a tiny pinch of salt, then transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the peaches are just tender, about 10 minutes.
Flip the peaches, drizzle with 2 tsp. more of the reserved bacon fat, and continue to roast until they’re tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes more. Enjoy the bacon as a cook’s treat, or save it for another use; discard the herbs. Let the peaches cool slightly before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the peaches up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate them in an airtight container. To reheat, arrange the peaches on a microwave-safe dish, cover loosely with a paper towel, and heat on high for about 1 minute.