When the first juicy Ontario peaches of the season arrive each year, I find it hard to do anything other than stand over the sink and eat them as is. Thankfully, I had already enjoyed quite a few peaches in their purest form when this month’s Farmers’ Feast challenge basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market arrived – complete with large, ripe beauties from Warner’s Farm. Had I not feasted on peaches already, I would have been hard pressed to resist the urge to gobble them up immediately.
Grilling peaches seems to accentuate their natural sweetness and make them even juicier than ever. You can impress your guests with this easy-to-prepare dessert than has a beautifully balanced sweet-salty taste. If you’re not already familiar with one of my favourite garnishes for both sweet and savoury dishes, dukkah is an Egyptian-inspired, finely-ground blend of nuts, seeds and spices. It adds a flavour pop as well as a nice crunchy texture to this dish, contrasting nicely with the tender fruit and creamy chèvre. My husband, who gets to taste a lot of yummy things each week, described these peaches with just one word: WOW. I suspect he’ll be asking for these for breakfast tomorrow. I just might oblige.
For the dukkah
- 1 cup (250 mL) almonds (you can also use hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts)
- ½ cup (125 mL) sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coriander seeds
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 mL) cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coarse sea salt
For the peaches
- 4 ripe peaches
- ½ cup (125 ml) chèvre, at room temperature
- to garnish: honey or white honey balsamic, chopped fresh mint
For the dukkah
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, roast coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Place roasted spices in a mortar and pestle and pound together with the peppercorns until pulverized (or grind in a coffee mill, or in a food processor).
- In the same skillet, over medium heat, roast nuts until fragrant, about 5 – 8 minutes (watch them carefully so that they don’t burn). Put nuts on a plate to cool. Place in a food processor.
- In the same skillet, roast sesame seeds until fragrant and they begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Place sesame seeds in the food processor with the nuts. Pulse to chop until mixture has a chunky-sand texture (do not over blend).
- Put the spice mix and nut-sesame mix into a large bowl. Add salt and stir to blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight glass container for up to three months.
For the peaches
- Preheat barbeque to medium-hot.
- Wash and cut peaches into halves, removing the pit.
- Cook the peaches on the grill until the cut sides have charred just slightly and the peach juice is beginning to bubble in places (about 4 – 6 minutes per side).
- Remove the peaches from the grill and place on a serving platter.
- Let cool for 5 minutes then garnish each peach with a generous dollop of chèvre and a sprinkling of dukkah. Drizzle with honey or white honey balsamic and add a little chopped mint.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 peach halves – enough for 4 large or 8 regular servings.