Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Eleventh Hour of Summer Produce



As I stroll my local far-mars gazing at the kaleidoscope of heirloom tomatoes and drooling like one of Pavlov's dogs, I can't help but wonder: is this the last week for a real peach?

With temperatures jutting grotesquely into the 90's tomorrow, who knows. But there is something about this moment in the season that always fills me with a mix of gratitude and anxiety. Tomatoes and peaches couldn't be more ripe, apples are certainly on the scene, and summer and fall produce share space like lions and lambs. But soon, all will be turnips.

And so at this time of year I stuff my face with as much summer produce as possible, because the best way to preserve food isn't in jars: it's to eat so much of it that you become uncomfortable.

My two favorite vessels for my two favorite fruits are crude bruschetta and peanut butter peaches. The bruschetta is straightforward: toast a slice of bread, plop as much super-ripe, gorgeous, locally grown, umami-rich heirloom tomato on top of it as you dare, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, throw on some chopped herb if you've got it. It need not be basil. I've been using sage from my minuscule container garden.



The peanut butter peaches must be had to be believed. They are so simple, so unlikely, yet so divine. You need the ripest peach imaginable. Go ahead and imagine that. No, imagine even riper. Now you've got it! Halve it, toss the stone, and stuff with (real) peanut butter.

The light, juicy, sweet, tangy flesh of the peach. The thick, dry, salty earthy peanut butter. I've eaten three before I even realize I'm awake.

I love a good restaurant as much as the next guy, but it is these crude, almost embarrassing personal inventions, products of whimsy and lean larders, eaten over the sink to catch the juice, when no one's looking, then wiping your hands on your pants, then guiltily eating another. These are the foods we'll never forget.

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3 comments:

aprildawn said...

don't forget the late raspberries at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester!
http://www.wlfarm.org/home

Jay said...

"but it is these crude, almost embarrassing personal inventions, products of whimsy and lean larders, eaten over the sink to catch the juice, when no one's looking, then wiping your hands on your pants, then guiltily eating another. These are the foods we'll never forget."

Now that's good writing. (Although in hindsight, the grammar could be better ;-) )

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