Some food, some drink.
Ginormous Flavor, Easy Recipe: Fresh Peach and Chipotle Salsa.
If you ask someone from around where I live where the best peaches come from, They're not gonna tell you "South Carolina"; and "Georgia" certainly won't be on their mind. For us folks in Western Kansas, the best peaches come from our neighbors further West in Colorado. I was fortunate enough to acquire a whole box of gigantic, juicy Colorado Angelus Peaches - a peach that really shines in raw applications. To best showcase the flavor of this fantastic fruit, there's probably no better recipe than a chipotle-spiked peach salsa.
Need a little help with your knife skills? If you've never dismantled a peach before, or if you need to see how to mince up some cilantro for yourself, then be sure to check out the companion video in regards this very recipe!
The Colorado border is just as short drive down the road from Hays, USA, and in the late summer, that means that Colorado peaches are an afternoon's drive away. My partner in brisket happened to know someone who knew someone passing thru those parts, and was taking orders. Sounds a bit nefarious, right? But trust me, around here people treat those peaches like gold. I knew I just had to have a whole box to myself, and as soon as that 18 pound box of Colorado Angelus peaches hit my doorstep, I knew it was the best money I'd spent on produce in I don't remember when. And while I'm totally content eating one pound peaches as big as a softball out of hand, I'd be amiss to not treat myself to a few recipes.
The Angelus variety is really not suited to canning or jams, and it's almost a disservice to do so. This is a stone fruit that begs to be eaten raw (or very close to it). One of the easiest recipes a person can produce while staying true to the nature and intent of an eating peach is fresh salsa. If you get good peaches (which these most definitely are), there's no cooking required; so all that's left to do is properly balance tangy to spicy, to salty to sweet - and grab a chip.
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
Whisk together all ingredients except the peaches. Then prep your peaches and stir 'em into the rest of the vinaigrette.
For best flavor, give it all a rest covered up in the fridge at least 15-20 minutes before serving.
- Assemble everything but the peaches first. Without the acids present in the vinaigrette, an exposed peach'll brown up quick. Done properly however, a salsa lidded up and stored in the fridge will stay surprisingly fresh for a couple of days.
- Shallot? Really? What home cook uses those? A bit snobby I know; but the supermarket had 'em 50% off so yeah; what the hell, right? If you can't find / can't afford / can't be bothered to look for shallot, then a minced sweet red onion, or even a scallion or two will do.
- Roasted garlic is too easy to make not to have in your fridge at all times. Basically, any time you gotta turn on the oven or light the grill, you could be throwing a couple of foil-wrapped bulbs in with the lot for good measure. Just don't use fresh garlic here; it'll totally ruin it.
- The tequila is optional, I suppose. You could leave the extra liquid out altogether, or I bet even a splash of strong green tea would suffice in hooch's stead; but know that there are quite often flavor compounds in fruits that are best distributed via alcohol. We're using the olive oil for the same reason; nothing spreads the heat from chiles around a dish like a lipid.
- To peel or not to peel: That is the question. If you've got good produce, I say forget it. Just knock the dirt and fuzz off with your mitts and some cold running water. However, if the skins are thick, tough or bitter, then you might want to give your peaches the polar bear club treatment with the blanch and shock technique.
Soooo many ways to eat this stuff; and it'll go quick, so you'll have opportunity to experiment with that second or even third batch. Just dandy on a tortilla chip if you're looking to serve something satisfying to the vegetarians at your next cocktail party; and on the other side of the spectrum, if you're serving grilled meats like pork and lamb that pair well with big flavors, you simply can't go wrong. Feeling like something to challenge your tastebuds? You might be surprised how good this stuff is over vanilla ice cream as well! As I've mentioned before in prior salsa posts, Good salsa is all about balancing big flavors. Salty, sweet, and sour need to be distinctly identifiable; so when the heat hits, it'll throttle every one of your tastebuds and leave your tongue utterly confused (but in a good way).