I have to admit, I'm much more of a fall and winter person. I don't particularly love hot weather or being eaten by bugs when stepping foot outside. I do, however, have a great appreciation for Summer's necessity in our food system, and peaches are what make the heat and humidity worth it. For the past seven summers, I've roamed San Diego's market in search of sweet and juicy peaches. My wanderings have led me to some good finds - floral white peaches from Sweet Tree Farms, sweet donut (or Saturn) peaches from Jacey's Farm, and a young crop of little ones from Good Taste Farm. Each delicious and flavorful in their own way. However, I still found myself longing for the peaches that grow about an hour south of my hometown - big, juicy, rosy-cheeked Chilton County yellow peaches. I love these peaches so much that when we'd take a trip back to Alabama in the summer, I'd designate my carryon bag to be filled solely with these (carefully packed) peaches.
This summer, I find myself back to living about an hour north of these orchards. And while I also find myself deeply missing my San Diego market wanderings, I am loving the ability to drive to the nearest farm stand or Pepperplace Farmer's Market to buy a few pounds. What I love most about peaches is their ability to go between sweet and savory applications seamlessly, more so that any other summer produce (in my opinion). From pizza topping to ice cream, caprese salads to skillet cakes, peaches can (and should) be enjoyed in as many forms as possible while in peak season.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in a grilled cheese. Paired with a fresh herb, some soft cheeses, a salty cured meat or pickle, and a zip from spice or vinegar, it's an unbeatable quick lunch especially post farmer's market shopping when you're looking for the fastest way to get from produce basket to tastebuds. I've written up what's essentially a non-recipe and more of a guide for using what you have on hand to make one delicious sweet and savory sandwich.
Peach Grilled Cheese
- Thick sliced sourdough or your favorite bread
- Soft cheese (cream cheese, labneh, goat)
- Sliced or grated melting cheese (mozzarella, brie, gruyere)
- Sliced cured meat, pickles, or other fresh produce
- Fresh peach, thinly sliced
- Fresh herbs
- Condiments: Preserves, vinegar glaze, hot sauce
- Ghee, butter, or oil
Start by spreading your bread slices with the soft cheese. Then, start stacking your ingredients on one bread slice. (I like to alternate ingredients, dispersing the melting cheese amongst the rest so that everything melds together when being grilled.) Drizzle over your condiment(s), and top with the remaining bread slice.
Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a pan over medium-low heat until melted. Swirl to coat. Add your sandwich and cover; cook for 3 minute undisturbed. Lift slightly with a spatula to see if bread is browned. Continue cooking, covered until it's toasted to your preference. Flip, and cover, and repeat. When toasted to your preference, remove the sandwich and let it stands for a few minutes before slicing. This will help it set slightly so it doesn't fall apart when eating.
Some of my preferred flavor combinations are below!
Brie & labneh
Goat cheese & gruyere
Tarragon or chives
Thinly sliced heirloom tomato
Cream cheese & mozzarella
Chipotle hot sauce