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Peaches and cream tartines

Johnny Autry

Peaches and cream tartines from "Southern from Scratch"

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8 sweet, juicy ways we're cooking with the first-of-the-season peaches

After last year's truly dismal peach crop, we would have been happy with simply an average season this year. But praise be to the peach gods: We're fixing to have a banner peach season in 2018. We've already been eating our way through cases of fragrant, juicy fruit and it's only the middle of June

To make the most of what's going to be peach-filled summer, we're plotting and planning all the ways we can put our Flavor Rich clingstones and giant O'Henry's to good use — besides, of course, eating them all straight-up, over the sink, with juices running down our arms. Here are eight of our favorite recipes.

Peaches and Cream Tartines from 'Southern from Scratch'
This open-faced sandwich from the new cookbook Southern from Scratch, is loaded with fresh ingredients including, of course, plenty of perfectly ripe peaches. A wee bit of salty country ham acts as a counterbalance to the sweetness of the honeyed cream cheese and the fruit, and fresh mint and sliced cucumber give the sandwich zippy crunch. 
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Grilled Shrimp and Peach Salad
A one-dish meal like this one doesn't have to mean boring, especially when the salad is brightened by the addition of grilled peaches, which are the ideal counterpart to peppery arugula and tangy blue cheese. Subtle and succulent grilled shrimp round out the dish.
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Country Ham and Peach Bites
These country ham and peach bites transform five simple ingredients into something sublime. Bright, fresh and mildy addictive, they take advantage of the bounty of peaches and basil overflowing at the farmer’s markets this time of year. The salty, buttery nature of country ham is a delicious foil to the fragrant peach and basil, and infusing the honey with red pepper flakes adds some needed zing. These one bite wonders are great with cocktails and will rev up your appetite for the main course.
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Peach Caprese Salad
A traditional caprese salad features the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. We’ve given the salad a Southern makeover by substituting sweet peaches for the tomatoes and complementing the salad with generous pieces of salty prosciutto and miniature balls of boccocini mozzarella. Feel free to experiment with your own proportions based on what you can find at the farmers market, and don't forget to season everything to taste. 
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Bourbon Peach Cooler
Fiddle-dee-dee! Nothing says Southern like the combination of peaches, iced tea and bourbon in this ice-cold drink from the new Bourbon Country Cookbook. The peach brings out the fruitiness of the bourbon and adds a delicate sweetness. All you need is a front porch.
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Macerated Stone Fruit with Bourbon Sabayon
If you're looking to serve a fancier-looking (but still quite easy) dessert for a dinner party this month, give this elegant twist on peaches and cream a try. Here, we've mixed the peaches with other stone fruit and let them macerate in sugar to give them a little oomph. On top is a bourbon-laced sabayon, which is basically just a cheffy way of saying an alcohol-fortified custard sauce. Pecans offer a great crunchy complement to the fruit and custard, so don't leave them off.
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Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
This quick and easy cobbler captures the essence of summer with juicy peaches and sweet-tart blackberries. We've gone ultra-casual with this dish by using a quick buttermilk drop biscuit dough for the topping and baking the whole thing in a cast iron skillet. Serve it straight from oven to table for rustic charm. 
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Blueberry Lavender Peach Pie
Now is the time to jump on this pie recipe, while peaches are coming into the market in all of their juicy glory. A touch of lavender complements the fruit, and the buttery lattice crust will be the envy of all of your pie-making friends. Trust us — it's worth the effort to make it from scratch.
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Photo (Country Ham and Peach Bites): Lisa Lotts
Photo (Peach Caprese Salad): Lauren Booker
Photo (Bourbon Peach Cooler): Courtesy "The Bourbon Country Cookbook"
Photo (Stone Fruit): Maura Friedman
Photo (Peach and Blackberry Cobbler): Ideabar Austin
Photo (Blueberry Lavender Pie): Cynthia Hoyt/Darling Down South


Author image

Kate Williams is the editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She is also an on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She has been working in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

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