August is National Peach Month. I have fond childhood memories of biting into impossibly sweet, overripe peaches that were almost bigger than my face and letting the juices run down my arms as I devoured them. I remember freshly churned peach ice cream. I recall a perfect all-American peach pie with sparkling lattice crust.
I have memories from later in my young adulthood, when I visited the farm of some good friends and had the privilege of sampling every variety of peach straight off the tree --yellow, white and saturn -- and learning the shape, fragrance and nuances of each one. I walked off the farm with a huge, heavy box of fruit to take home. I treasure peaches each summer, look for when they go on sale in the local markets, and love to use them in just about every way I can in my kitchen.
Grilling is a tremendously quick and simple way to enjoy peaches, or really any ripe stone fruit you happen to have on hand this time of year, including nectarines, plums or apricots. Grilling fresh fruit enhances its natural flavors and doesn't require too much adornment. I like mine with a drizzle of warm honey butter, spiced with cinnamon or ginger and a dollop of freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened. This way, the bursting summertime flavor of the peaches or stone fruit really comes through. The recipe comes together in just about 10 minutes from start to finish and makes a beautiful presentation to serve for guests.
Grilled peaches with cinnamon honey butter
1. Heat a grill pan on the stovetop (or a standard outdoor grill) over medium-high heat. Place the peach halves face down onto the grill and cook for about 5 minutes or until nice grill marks are achieved and the peaches are warm and have softened a bit. Turn the peaches 90 degrees halfway through cooking.
2. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the butter, honey and cinnamon. Cook 1-2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Keep warm until the peaches are ready.
3. Put grilled peach halves onto serving plates, 2 halves per person. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and drizzle with cinnamon honey butter. Top with mint leaves, if using. Serve promptly.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.