► Fleeting seasonal produce takes on new meaning when the future of restaurants remains uncertain.
Its presence on menus brings familiarity and a sense of normalcy, which is more than enough reason to play out an item like peaches until the very end, usually late September.
Because peaches taste as good as they look, with a balance of acidity and a firmness that only exists seasonally, the fruit is worth investing in–whether to support local farmers or take time to get creative.
Peaches pack a sweet punch that can work in virtually any–dish, especially when amped up with techniques like grilling to impart smoke, pickling to bump up the acidity, or using fermentation to make a sweet and sour sauce.
“They adapt to savory and sweet applications,” says Gregory James, executive chef at Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland, which has launched three private water view concepts since the initial pandemic closures. “They can be used in salads, entrées, desserts, hors d’oeuvres – just about any meal.”
Here are four menu ideas that work for dining in and takeout.
Recipes from this Story:
- Negroni Poached Peaches
- Green Farro Risotto with Roasted Peaches
- Peach, Scallop and Arugula Salad
- Fermented Peach Sweet-and-Sour Sauce with Grilled Prawns
Negroni Poached Peaches with Blackberry Sorbetto, Oat Crumble
» Who: Alisha Ivey, Chef at Il Solito, Portland, Oregon
» Why it works: The peach adds sweetness to the classic combination and plays well with the earthy flavors of gin and bitterness of the Campari. Poaching intensifies the flavor and helps control the texture, as peaches come in at different ripeness stages. Keep the poaching liquid at a gentle simmer so that it doesn’t overcook the fruit and scorch the flavors. While sorbetto or any frozen component is not takeout-friendly, the peaches are – and can be paired with store-bought ice cream flavors. Just be sure to share suggestions online with the menu description.
Peach Scallop Arugula Salad
» Who: Gabriel Salazar, Chef at Sauvage in Brooklyn, New York
» Why it works: The sweetness of the peach plays off the natural sweetness and nutty flavor of scallops. It pairs so well because the juiciness of the fruit plays into the honey, the freshness of the basil, and the sweet but acidic taste of the vinaigrette. The spicy aspect of the arugula and garlic make a great balance. You keep finding new flavors and textures with each bite, which is what this salad is all about, Salazar says. Presentation is important even with takeout–so consider packing the greens and vinaigrette separately, so the customer can put it together.
Green Farro Risotto with Roasted Peaches
» Who: Tim Graham, executive chef at Nico Osteria, Chicago
» Why it works: Green farro is young farro, making it hard to thresh the husk from the grain. To do this, the farro is set on fire, which gives it an amazing smoky flavor. “It’s truly one of the greatest tastes I know,” says Graham. “This smokiness reminds me of summer grilling season, and during that time of year, nothing is much better than a ripe peach.” The dish also offers a point of differentiation and appeals to protein-focused diners. To maximize the integrity of the dish for takeout, be sure the farro has adequate liquid for reheating.
Fermented Peach Sweet-and-Sour Sauce
» Who: Noel Jelfs, head chef at Chinese Tuxedo, New York
» Why it works: In a word: versatility. When Tuxedo reopens later this summer, the recipe can be used not only for peaches, but other seasonal produce. The sauce also can be sold to customers who pair it with proteins at home. “Play around with flavors and spices, even the fruits and vegetables used,” Jelfs says. “The possibilities are endless. Serve with steamed fish, barbecue chicken legs or grilled meat. It also pairs well with cilantro and mint, so consider using these fresh herbs when finishing your dish.”