You'd think that living in Florida I would have access to some amazing peaches. While that's been true lately, I jumped the gun on them this year, and was pretty disappointed. We had a strange winter here, there were frosts in the late part of February, very uncommon. This resulted in the berry crop being all but destroyed, and the rest of the produce has been a bit behind.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to Charlotte, NC for a weekend trip. On the way home, I stopped at a small road-side farm stand outside Savannah, GA, for some peaches. I was shocked when I heard the prices, $30 for a small basket of about 18 peaches. But, I desperately wanted to feel the sweet, fuzzy bite of a peach, and have the juices run down my arm. The peaches were hard, tart, and pulpy. Talk about disappointment!
So for the rest of summer, when I saw peaches, I assumed it was just a bad season and they were all that way. However, when I was in Cincinnati and had some of the peaches my sister brought from a farm-stand in Cleveland, my faith in the juicy peach was restored. Since then, I've had a peach daily. They hit rock bottom prices last week, but are on their way out of season... so I had to get one more recipe in. I've seen hundreds of delicious looking baked goods with peaches, but I wanted to incorporate them into a savory dinner.
I found this recipe in the June issue of Cooking Light, tore it out and put it in my "to-make" binder. Since it was a last minute decision to make it, I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand. The original is made with nectarines, but I had peaches on hand. I also have just about hit my dill quota for the year thanks to Chef Symon's recipes, so I opted out. Finally, I had slivered almonds to use up, so no pistachios in here... though I think it would be great with pistachios. I served this salad warm/room temperature, but it can be refrigerated and served cold as well.
VBS Tips and Trades:
-Bulgur is cracked wheat, and takes about 25-35 minutes to cook. If you're pressed for time, try using cous cous, which cooks in 5 minutes.
-While each vinegar has it's distinct taste, white balsamic vinegar may not be an easy find. Try substituting Rice Wine vinegar, which has a similar sweet taste.
-As previously mentioned, Peaches are on the dirty dozen list, heavily treated with pesticides and chemicals. Purchase your peaches organic, or from a farm-stand where you can ask the sellers what they use to treat their peaches. Be sure to wash peaches very well.
Bulgur and Peach Salad with Almonds
adapted from Cooking Light, June 2010
1 c. bulgur
1 c. water
2 peaches, sliced very thin
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
1/4 c. white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. EVOO
Pinch of salt
Cracked black pepper
2 scallions, finely sliced
Heat a small stockpot over high, add water and bring to a boil.
Add bulgur, whisk and turn heat to low.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and bulgur is tender.
In a serving bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt, pepper and scallions.
Add bulgur, toss to combine well.
Add half of the sliced peaches, gently toss.
Top with the remaining peaches, sprinkle with almonds.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve chilled.