Peach salad makes for a satisfying summer supper | Food & Cooking

A good peach salad can be easy to make yet produce complex flavors, says food columnist Robin Mather.

I couldn’t resist those pretty peaches at the farmers market last week. Big and rosy-cheeked, the peaches were a freestone variety. I bought a dozen with no clear idea on how I’d use them.

I could make a pie or a cobbler, of course. Many years of living in the Deep South makes peach cobbler top-of-mind for me, but I wasn’t really in the mood for such a sweet, sticky dish. Furthermore, I had no interest in turning on the oven, so that ruled out peach pie, peach crisp, and peach slumps and buckles and grunts as well.

In long-ago years, my mother made peach chutneys to serve as a sideboy at her curry dinners; we also put her chutney on sandwiches and used it as a spread for crackers and so on. But gosh, peach chutney requires a lot of hands-on attention. The thought of canning chutney also made me swoon and fan myself in dismay.

Once upon a time, I made pint after pint of pickled peaches for my husband’s delectation. He could put away a pint at a time, smacking his lips with delight as he fished them out of the jar. The pickled peaches were finicky to prepare, but we do such things for love. I don’t really care for pickled peaches and haven’t made them since we parted ways.

I don’t eat much in the way of jam and preserves these days, so peach jam seemed like a waste of those pretty peaches. And again, the canning. In this heat?

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Without a doubt, humanity advanced leaps and bounds once it became clear that cooking over fire equaled better food. But sometimes, it’s just too hot or the day’s too long to even consider turning on an oven or stove. Luckily, plenty of recipes require no heat (or very, very little) […]
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