I can't believe peaches have now been at the market for several weeks. One grower told me that everything is three weeks early this year because of the heat. The first week I saw peaches at the farmers' market, I bought about 20 of them, and I think they were magic. Too often peaches ripen after a day or two on the counter, and I have to whisk them into the refrigerator before really bad things begin to happen. To avoid that, we started eating them right away, and they were ripe and delicious.
But then the magic kicked in. The peaches were in the fruit basket all week and, when I ate the last one -- and, yes, I ate the last one before anyone else could get their paws on it -- it was still perfect. It may have something to do with the way I carried them home from the market. I bought enough to completely cover the bottom of my market bag so that they would be close together and wouldn't roll around and bruise. I didn't put anything else in the bag with them, and I carried the bag so gently, you'd think I was rocking those peaches to sleep. I could have swaddled them and sung to them on the way home, too, for all the care I gave them. A bit ridiculous, I know. But maybe it worked.
We've done the same for the last two weeks and the peaches have been excellent. This recipe makes the most of those fresh peaches. The grilling brings out their sweetness and the lightly sugared mint cream adds just enough of a touch to carry them into the dessert category. The children loved them and have been asking for them again. But we're eating them so fast raw that they haven't stayed around enough long enough to make it to the grill.
Grilled Peaches with Mint Whipped Cream
10 minutes preparation time
15 minutes grilling time
1/2 cup mint leaves, washed
1 cup heavy cream
4 peaches, washed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
In a large measuring cup, mash the mint leaves with a wooden spoon until they are lightly bruised. Add the cream, stir, and set in the refrigerator. The longer the mint sits in the cream, the stronger the flavor will become. They need to sit for at least an hour, though, and as long as 24 hours. When I let them sit for longer than that, they gave the cream a bitter flavor. Pour the cream-mint mixture through a sieve, pressing to extract all of the cream.
In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until it is fluffy. Add the sugar and mix again for a few seconds.
Heat the grill. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush a bit of butter onto the cut side of each peach half.Lay the peaches face down on the grill and cook until they are lightly browned and tender, 5 or so minutes. Turn them, and cook again on the other side for another few minutes. Remove them from the grill and set them aside to cool.
Now you have a decision to make. We ate our first peaches with the skins on, but I found the skins a bit bitter. I slipped the skin off of a few of them and found the flavor much more mellow this way. The good news is that after they have been grilled, they are very easy to slip off.
Serve each peach half with a dollop of whipped cream.