Grilled Peaches and Gelato Gouda
Delicious with cheese
Admittedly, a fresh peach is a wonder unto itself. Juicy. Sweet. Delicious to eat when ripe. Botanically, peaches are in the rose family, and when you bite into a peach its flavor shines like a rose.
But grilling adds a certain something. The Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, wrote the line: "What peaches and what penumbras!" He was writing about shopping in a California supermarket at night, but "what penumbras!" is a pretty good summary of what happens to a peach when it is grilled, which it is simple to do because of the shape and the firmness of the fruit.
And when combined with the right cheese, grilled peaches are an unusual and interesting lunch -- or dessert. Different types of cheese, many different types of cheese, go well with these peaches, so many that it is difficult to choose.
Then there's gelato and sorbet . . . . .
Delicious with gelato and sorbet
On their way
We don't really need anything to prepare them for the grill, other than maybe a little oil, for example Canola oil. That would just serve to keep them from sticking to the grill, rather than for flavor.
The taste of a peach is so great that it doesn't need any help.
These peaches were kept in a paper bag for a week, to ripen them. The flesh fell away from the stone when halved. Let's leave the stone in the other half though.
On the grill
They don't have to be on the grill for long. Like virtually all fruits, they will cook on a preheated grill for only a couple of minutes on each side.
I must say that these look particularly beautiful, the shape and the color. Good enough to eat, don't you think?
Since they spend so little time on the grill (relatively), you can certainly wait until your guests have finished the main course before starting the process of creating this desert. Heightened expectations will await your effort.
Another couple of minutes and they are done.
The black or charred pieces are no problem The are easily brushed away. They serve to indicate that the peaches are done.
Move the peaches around when you turn them over, of course -- the ones that were on the hotter parts of the grill to the less hot parts and the ones on the less hot parts to the hotter parts.
Back in the pan
On their way back to the kitchen -- and to our plate.
"Peaches and cream" is a classic combination. Indeed, we could pour some cream over these, whipped or regular, sour or sweet, and eat them that way.
But we have a more interesting pairing in mind -- one that is an alternative to the gelato/sorbet pairing we have already shown a picture of.
And what a cheese!
Aged Gouda. The young Gouda, aged six months or less, would also be a good pairing here. But Gouda that has been aged three or more years has a unique flavor that pairs especially well with the peaches, which have a freshness about them that offers an interesting contrast to the three-year-old.
The dish is interesting because of the contrast between the sweet, warm, still juicy peaches and the dry, sharp, strong taste of the aged Gouda.
A bigger view
A difficult choice
Paired with gelato (chocolate) and sorbet (raspberry), on the one hand.
Or paired with Aged Gouda, on the other.
The only way to resolve this dilemma, of course, is to try one on the right occasion and then to try the other on another right occasion. Both are triumphs!
The Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN has determined that of all the countries in the world China is the largest producer of peaches, which is odd in that peaches do not play a notable part in Chinese cuisine, certainly not grilled peaches with gelato and sorbet. But let us not jest, as recent genetic studies favor the view that the peach originated in China as early as 4 or 5 thousand years ago. The peach is another of the ancient wonders.
The scientific name of the peach (and the nectarine) is Prunus persica. This, too, is odd because it makes the peach sound like a Persian prune. But in fact the genus prunus includes a number of absolutely delicious fruits besides peaches: plums, of course, and apricots, even cherries -- even almonds! The "persica" does reflect Persia because it was from there that the peaches came which the first scientists using the modern naming convention tasted. The genus prunusincorporates the stoned fruits.
Nectarines are basically just smooth peaches, but on the other hand peaches are basically just fuzzy nectarines. I have heard nectarines described as simply a "somatic variation" of a peach, "somatic" referring to the more common word "seed." The peach and nectarine taste a bit different, however. I think most everyone would agree with that, and most people do not randomly pick one or the other -- we have our preferences, even if they change from day to day. There is, incidentally, such a thing as a peacharine, a cross between the peach and its variation. I wonder what it tastes like and how the grill will enhance it.
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.