In-Feed's Bob McKinley brought veggie plants to multiple Cornbread Suppers to encourage and support more urban gardening -- and we ended up with the last three or four plants. They seemed hangdog, a bit like kids no one wants on a baseball team. The Live-In Gardener tucked the somewhat forlorn plants into a double-dug bed, and -- good heavens! The plants turned vivid green and proceeded to grow, Grow, GROW in the overheated summer of 2010. The beautiful purple jalapeños on two of those In-Feed plants inspired this recipe. Oh, and the gigantic juicy Bounty peaches from Boyd Orchards in Woodford County -- which also benefited from the summer heat and adequate rain -- offered plenty of inspiration, too.
- 3 large, juicy, fresh peaches; they should be perfectly ripe without being soft
- 2 jalapeño peppers (red or purple ones are particularly beautiful), chopped fine; leave seeds in if you like more heat
- 1 small onion or two medium shallots, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of unseasoned rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
- Grated zest and juice of one large lime
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (Celtic Gray is particularly good in this dish)
- 2 cloves garlic, optional
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- Cut the peaches into halves. Discard the pits. Grill the peach halves until they are lightly charred and their exterior surfaces are slightly softened.
- While the peaches grill, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat, and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, sauté the onion or shallot slowly to bring out its sweetness. Aim for light caramel edges on the onion.
- When the onion is cooked, add brown sugar, salt, and rice vinegar to the skillet. Cook, stirring, over low heat until the sugar dissolves, usually in about two minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add the lime zest, lime juice, jalapeño peppers and, if you like, two very finely chopped fresh garlic cloves to the warm skillet. Stir well, and then let the skillet rest as you prepare the peaches.
- When the peaches are sufficiently grilled, let them cool until you can peel the skin away. Discard the skin. Chop the grilled peaches into bite size pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl. As soon as the peaches are chopped, pour the cooked mixture from the skilled over them, and stir gently. (The acid in the skillet mixture will help keep the freshly chopped peaches from turning brown.) If needed, pour the salsa into a serving bowl.
- If you like, top the salsa with the freshly chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately as a side or topping for grilled fish, pork, chicken, or tofu, or pass it as an accompaniment to rice and bean dishes or curries.