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A Perfect Peach Recipe — Literally

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Myra in her parsley gardenThe first time I bit into a perfect peach, I was an 8-year-old camper in a bunk bed-lined cabin at Tapawingo sleep-away camp in upstate New York. One day after horseback riding, a box arrived for one of the campers. It was a case of huge peaches. A counselor cut a few down the center, removed the pits, and soon I was handed half of a perfectly ripe freestone yellow peach. It was bigger than the palm of my hand, and its incredible aroma mesmerized me. When I had my first taste, the explosion of flavor astounded me. All my senses sang as I enjoyed every bite of that sweet, juicy peach. Despite my excitement, I ate slowly; it was pure bliss and I knew it deserved to be savored. 

The taste of that peach more than 40 years ago is still the most incredible food memory of my life. Was it really the best peach in the world, or was I over the moon because I was a little girl from New York City, raised on TV dinners, who had never tasted tree-ripened fruit before?

The Perfect Peach cookbook

When I got my hands on a copy of the Masumoto family’s new cookbook, The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm, I read it cover to cover, and it quickly reawakened my passion and gratitude for this glorious fruit. 

Mas Masumoto’s well-known book, Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm, has inspired many Earthbound farmers. In this new book, Mas joins his voice with those of his wife Marcy and daughter Nikiko to share their stories of life on the farm, as well as their favorite recipes. The Masumotos’ agenda, according to Nikiko (who is in training to take over the family business) is for “…more people to love peaches.”

The Perfect Peach taught me about different peach varieties, as well as how to jam, dry and store them. In addition to the expected (and always tempting) pie and cobbler, they use peaches to make sangria, soup and salsa, in addition to featuring their favorite fruit on pizza and in tacos.

One recipe in particular seemed to be a perfect fit for Earthbound Farm: Peach Bruschetta, made with 1 or 2 slices of peaches on top of an arugula pesto. This particular recipe is Nikiko’s. She says she likes to make this appetizer once peach season is well underway and the family has eaten so many peaches that they have “peach juice in their veins.” She says that’s when it’s time to enjoy the taste of peaches in an appetizer that includes a medley of other flavors.

Enjoy the Earth’s delicious bounty!

                                                                                   

  • Peach Bruschetta
  • Serves 4
  • From The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm
  • by Marcy, Nikiko and David Mas Masumoto
  •  
  • Ingredients

  • ARUGULA PESTO:
    1 clove garlic
    1/4 cup walnuts
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 cups organic baby arugula
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
     
    BRUSCHETTA:
    1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for brushing the bread)
    1 red onion (thinly sliced)
    1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
    1 baguette (sliced 3/8-inch thick)
    1 clove garlic (smashed, or use 2 cloves if you like)
    2 soft, small organic peaches (peeled, halved, pitted and cut into wedges 1/4-inch thick)
    Shaved Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
    Coarse (kosher) salt
  •  
  • Directions

  • To make the pesto, combine the garlic and walnuts in a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil and arugula and continue to pulse until the mixture is evenly moist and spreadable. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  •  
  • To make the bruschetta, heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Set aside.
  •  
  • Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill. When the fire is ready, paint each bread slice on both sides with oil. Arrange the bread on the grill rack and toast, turning once, for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. (If you don't have a grill, toast the bread on both sides in a preheated broiler until golden brown.)
  •  
  • When the bread slices are ready, let them cool enough to handle, then rub the smashed garlic cloves on both sides of each slice. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the pesto on one side of each bread slice. (You will need only about 1/2 cup of the pesto; cover and store any remaining pesto in the refrigerator for another use.) Top each slice with some of the caramelized onion, 1 or 2 peach slices, a little Parmesan and a sprinkle of salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
  •  
  • Calories per serving: 390, Fat 26 grams, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 330 mg, Carbohydrates 35 grams, Fiber 6 grams, Sugars 11 grams, Protein 10 grams.
  •  
  • Percentage Daily Values per serving (based on a 2,000-calorie diet): Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 10%, Iron 10%, Thiamin (vitamin B1) 15%, Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 10%, Niacin (vitamin B3) 15%, Vitamin B6 10%, Folate 10%, Magnesium 20%.

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