I got a lot of peaches at Heyser Farm on Saturday. Like a LOT. We can each bring one for lunch and I can grill them to have with dinner, but that still left a lot of peaches. I could make a cobbler or a pie, but I try to stick to healthy foods during the week so I can splurge on weekends (although it doesn’t always work out that way).
Then on Monday, while in a Congressional office building of all places, I spotted a display on stone fruits. Not sure what it was for, but it definitely caught my eye because not so long ago, my husband and Ona, my loyal co-author, argued with me about the validity of the term “stone fruit.” They insisted I made it up. Alas, they were very… no, extremely wrong. Stone fruits are fruits with hard pits in the middle — peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and apricots. I was extremely right.
Anyway… the stone fruit display had a few recipes so I grabbed a random one. Jerk Chicken with Peach Salsa. It was like a message from the heavens. But instead of hearing a heavenly voice from above, I heard Bobby Flay saying “grill it… GRIIIILLLL IT…” I tossed the recipe and decided to make it up myself per usual.
Almost everything was local. The peaches and corn came from Heyser Farm and the onion came from Spiral Path in my CSA box. The mint came from my yard.
Grilled Peach and Corn Salad (or salsa)
- 3 ripe peaches, but not too soft
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 jalapenos (or bell peppers if you don’t want the heat)
- 2 ears of corn
- Lime juice
- Fresh mint or cilantro
Halve the peaches, halve the jalapenos and remove the ribs/seeds, peel and slice the onion, and shuck the corn. Everybody on the grill! Make sure it is super hot. You want some nice char on everything. No grill? You could roast it all, cook everything but the peaches in a pan on the stove, or make this with raw ingredients. It would be great made any of those ways. I chose to grill the ingredients for two reasons: 1) grilling adds a nice char flavor that I love and 2) cooking the onion and the jalapenos makes them less intense and a little more sweet. Jalapenos have great flavor. Cooking them just a bit brings out that great flavor and subdues the heat just a tad. It is the same with the onion — brings out that great, sweet flavor and subdues the often overpowering raw flavor.
Grill it all until it has nice grill marks. Once it is done, chop everything. Peaches should be in chunks, remove the corn kernels from the cob, and the onion and jalapenos should be finely chopped.
Note: After handling the jalapenos, wash your hands with hot water and dish soap (it will cut through the oils; hand soap won’t) several times. And DO NOT touch your face! Even better, wear gloves while you do this. Getting jalapeno in your eye is not fun especially when it is three hours after you handled them and you aren’t expecting that terrible burn.
Once everything is chopped, throw it in a bowl and mix with fresh mint or cilantro (chopped, of course) and a bit of lime juice. If you have time to let the mixture sit and get to know each other, that’s best. If you don’t, no problem. I didn’t have time.
Folks, I can’t clearly emphasize how awesome this was. It was sweet and savory and spicy and refreshing. I served it with Jerk rubbed turkey cutlets (rub recipe is below). It was delicious on top as a salsa and was hearty enough on the side as a salad. It would be fantastic with fish, in a taco, or as a summertime side dish. You could throw in black beans to make it more hearty or chop the peaches into smaller pieces for a thinner salsa. There are lots of ways to make this your own!
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander (I didn’t have this, so I used cumin)
- 3 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons onion powder (I used onion flakes because that’s what I had)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons habanero powder (I used chipotle powder because that’s what I had. Cayenne would be fine.)
- 1 tablespoon dry thyme
- 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves (I was out of cloves, so I skipped this)
I cut the recipe in thirds and had leftovers.
Rub a generous amount on one side of the turkey (or chicken or whatever protein you want). Rubbing it on both sides will be too overpowering. It is strong stuff! Grill it until you have nice grill marks on each side — put it rubbed side up first so it can really soak in.
It had a great balance of sweet and spicy. I thought the cumin was great in it, so I’ll probably stick with that in the future.
Yes, you could buy a Jerk rub. But why would you? It is more expensive and premade rubs usually have extremely high levels of sodium. Making it at home allows you to customize it, save money, and make it more healthy. So again, why buy the stuff?