August 10, 2020 3 min read
It's the height of summer and that means peaches are at their peak. We've dug through our recipe archives to find the perfect peach-inspired menu pairings to help you make the most of the fleshy, flavorful fruit of summer. Fire up that grill and chill the bourbon... let's get started.
Sweet summer peaches add the perfect dose of seasonal flavor to this simple-yet-elegant entrée
Grilling peaches gives them a wonderful, soft smoky sweetness that’s hard to define. Here, they are paired with chicken breasts marinated in a complementary dressing of lemon, mustard, and fresh basil to transform the simple ingredients into a gourmet entrée.
The longer you marinate the chicken, the stronger the flavor. The problem is that the marinade will eventually break down the chicken’s muscle fibers. The solution? Prepare the chicken and marinate it in the morning instead of the night before. Feel free to add more peaches or double the whole recipe for tasty leftovers throughout the week. Leftover chilled grilled peaches can be added to salads or chopped into a light salsa for beef, pork, fish, or turkey. Enjoy!
Chicken breasts grill more evenly if they have a uniform thickness. To even them up, lay chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper or inside a large open plastic baggie and pound to an even thickness with the smooth side of a meat mallet or the edge of a skillet before marinating.
Peaches aren’t usually thought of as a superfood, but they’re pretty doggone good for you. They’re low in calories, feature a generous 2 grams of fiber, and include small but measurable amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K. They even boast not insignificant amounts of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and potassium, plus a little beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid with anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. To top it all off, they also contain a smattering of lutein and zeaxanthin, the superstar carotenoids of eye nutrition.
Not bad for a mere 38 calories per medium-sized fruit. And just for good measure, they have a low glycemic load—meaning they don’t spike most people’s blood sugar.
In coming years, peaches may even reach “superstar” status, if researchers at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station have anything to say about it. “The trend is to develop varieties that have more health benefits because the public is becoming more health-conscious and making decisions based on that,” says experiment station researcher Dr. David Byrne. “Twenty years ago, the breeding emphasis was on big and pretty. That’s still important, but now we’re looking at quality and trying to develop peaches with better health benefits.”
Peaches already rank high in some types of phytochemicals and have been shown to have good to excellent antioxidant activity, some antimicrobial activity, and good to excellent tumor growth inhibition activity. Not to mention that a perfectly ripened peach is one of the most delicious things on earth.
When buying peaches, make sure they’re good and ripe—they don’t ripen well after picking. And be careful, as one small bruise can cause them to go bad. It’s also worth noting that peaches frequently make the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and veggies most heavily contaminated with pesticides (including the 2020 list). So to protect against chemical exposure, be sure to buy organic.
Written by Ned Johnson and William Stixrud for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
You will definitely need something to wash down that meal. Don't forget our favorite mason jar cocktail recipe: the Peach Bourbon Mule.
While we have that grill fired up, why not throw a few more peaches on for dessert? Paired with mascarpone or vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey it's the peachy perfect ending to a deliciously inspired meal.
Grilling peaches gives them a wonderful, soft smoky sweetness that’s hard to define. They are pretty fantastic on their own but when you add honey and mascarpone, they are next level.
Not into mascarpone? Try it with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.
2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 sliced pecans
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup blueberries
1 tbsp coconut oil
Grease a 10 inch cast iron grill pan with coconut oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes.
Place peaches on pan cut side down and grill 4-5 minutes. Alternatively cook on an outdoor grill over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.
Remove peaches from pan and scoop 1/4 cup mascarpone on top of each.
Decorate with pecans, blueberries and a generous drizzle of honey.
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