South Carolina Summers bring us sunny days and balmy nights,
Swimming holes and mosquito bites.
South Carolina Summers bring us thunderstorms and walks on beaches
But best of all, summer brings us South Carolina Peaches.
I wrote this little ditty years ago, and I still love it today. Summer wouldn’t nearly be as sweet without South Carolina peaches.
Ancient cultures thought peaches a food of immortality, a fruit of happiness (they certainly make me happy). Peaches have long been the favored fruit of emperors and kings. I’ve even heard it said that Queen Victoria wouldn’t end a meal without a peach perched on a pretty napkin. It’s no wonder peaches are sometimes referred to as “The Queen of Fruit”.
We all know that peaches are for more than a royal sweet. Peaches are perfect for summer desserts and these days, clever cooks are using peaches in everything from salsa to soup.
After you’ve eaten a bushel or two standing over the sink, you’ll want to branch out a bit. Bake peach cobbler for Sunday dinner. Make sure you put up plenty of peach preserves and don’t forget to stock the freezer. And if you’re looking for something to do with those frozen peaches, try this:
Easy Peach Sherbet (or is it Sherbert?)
16 to 24 ounces of frozen peach slices
1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Splash of milk (if desired)
Place the peaches and sweetened condensed milk in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Give it a taste and add a splash of whole milk if you want a creamier sherbet or add more sweetened condensed milk if you want a sweeter treat.
Serve immediately as a soft serve treat, or transfer to a loaf pan with a lid and freeze for 3 to 4 hours for a firmer sherbet.
A friend and I created these sliders out of the blue one day as we piously discussed arugula salad. Somehow, in the blink of an eye, we went from a relatively healthy peach and arugula salad with a light vinaigrette to decadent and rich BLP Sliders with goat cheese and Lemon Maple Mayonnaise. We have our priorities in order.
Yield: 4 servings
8 Hawaiian style slider buns, split
Lemon Maple Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
1 to 1 ½ cups of baby arugula
8 slices of Sweet and Spicy Bacon (Recipe follows)
6 large slightly under-ripe South Carolina Peaches
2 Tablespoons of butter, softened
¼ cup pecans, toasted
¼ cup of crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the broiler and toast the split slider buns until they are light golden brown. When the buns are brown, remove from the oven and cool slightly. While the buns are cooling, heat the grill place a grill pan over low heat.
Place 4 slider halves on each serving plate. Top the 4 bottom buns with a dollop of Lemon Maple Mayonnaise (about a tablespoon). Top the mayonnaise with about ¼ cup of arugula and a slice of bacon, halved.
Peel (if desired) the peaches, halve and remove the pit. Butter the hot grill pan and place the peaches cut side down on the grill pan. My peaches were perfectly cooked in about 4 minutes over low heat. If you are using an actual grill, make sure to keep the peaches away from the coals. Peaches need a cool grilling experience.
When the peaches are cooked, remove to a plate to cool slightly. Arrange a peach half on the bacon and arugula. Divide the toasted pecans and crumbled goat cheese among the four sandwiches. Top with the other toasted bun and serve immediately.
Lemon Maple Mayonnaise
Yield: 1 cup
1 cup of mayonnaise (for Heaven’s sake, use Duke’s)
1 Tablespoon of lemon zest
3 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (I like Grade B)
Freshly ground black pepper
Add all the ingredients to a bowl with a tight-fitting lid; whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend. This makes much more than you’ll need for the recipe, so enjoy it for about a week and then discard.
Sweet and Spicy Bacon
Yield: 8 slices
8 slices of thick, applewood smoked bacon
¼ cup of Grade B Maple Syrup
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust the amount to your taste)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack over the foil-lined baking sheet.
Arrange the bacon in a shallow dish and add the maple syrup. Carefully spoon the maple syrup over the bacon slices until every slice is coated. Arrange the bacon on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the bacon for 15 minutes; check the crispiness and if you want crispier bacon then cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Watch this carefully to make sure the maple syrup doesn’t burn.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven and let the bacon rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.