Peach & Goat Cheese Tartine
To me, the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is the best time of year to cook -- just cool enough for a bowl of soup, but still warm enough to pack a picnic. Autumn is prime Farmer’s Market season; in just a few short months, the abundance of variety will be whittled down to little more than apple cider (…donuts), root veggies, artisanal breads, and hand-dyed yarn.
Just this past week I took advantage of what little remains are still being plucked from local peach trees. The bountiful baskets of late summer stone fruits that line the farmers market are slowly dwindling while honey crisps, macintosh and pink lady’s make their grand appearance.
Then mom rang. (Yes, my mom contacts me for recipe advice, and I love it). She was in need of some inspiration for a handful of singled-out peaches she had from making jam. Before I could utter out “juice,” she informed me she already took the liberty of dicing the golden beauties up and cooking ‘em down in a saucepan. The question now was: what next?
This recipe comes as a surprise to me. To be honest, one of my least favorite things to eat is cooked fruit; mainly because there is nothing more perfect than ripe fruit, but the more I think about it the more I’m convinced it’s a texture thing. Sure, fresh peaches can be a bit tricky to eat. At its prime the peach is a stone fruit that forces you to adopt a special eating position – bowing forwards at an angle to avoid being bathed in peach juice (mmmm, now there’s an idea…).
FUN PEACHY FACTS:
**The fuzzy peach is actually a member of the rose family and originated in China.
**The peach can have yellow or white flesh, which is sweeter and less acidic than its more traditional golden counterpart.
**China is the largest producer of peaches, followed by Italy.
**A large peach has fewer than 70 calories (but who counts those things anymore?), and contains 3 grams of fiber.
**They are full of Vitamin C and contain beta-carotene, which we’ve come to learn the body converts into vitamin A.
Peaches tend to get softer and juicier after picking, however, they only develop flavor and sweetness on the tree. The flesh of a peach should have a slight give, but use your whole hand vs. fingertips to check since the fruit bruises so easily. Also, check for an even coloring of golden or creamy yellow. Smell is a very good indicator of the level of flavor
2 peaches, pitted, diced (keep the skin on, no use wasting it)
2-3 tbsp filtered water
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/8-1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon)
squeeze of a lemon
local goat cheese (plain would be best, but whatever you have I’m sure will be just as tasty)
gluten free bread, toasted
arugula (or your other favorite green to embellish your tartine)
coarse sea salt and black pepper
- in a small saucepan add the diced peaches, water, and cinnamon stick (if using ground cinnamon add at the end).
- cover with a lid and cook on medium-low heat until peaches start to break down (12-15 minutes).
- let cool slightly and add a squeeze of lemon (add the ground cinnamon if using) and gently smash with a whisk.
- layer the toasts with a good amount of goat cheese (remember to show the whole piece of toast some love, spreading the cheese from corner to corner).
- spoon a couple tablespoons of the cooked peaches on top, a dusting of course sea salt, and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.
- top it all of with a garden of arugula and you have yourself a simple, nutritious lunch or after school snack that even the little ones will fancy.