If you’ve been to the farmers’ market recently, you know which stand is going to have the longest line: the one with the stone fruit. In much of America, it’s simply incredible this year. Whether you’re in the market for peaches, nectarines, plums or pluots, this late-August fruit is, well, the jam. Don’t miss out! Here’s how to enjoy them any time of day.
You know what? There’s never a wrong way to do waffles, and these Waffles with Plums and Pistachios are no exception. You could slice up any stone fruit for delicious yogurt parfaits, smoothies or smoothie bowls, and if you want to put smoothie into a popsicle mold and hand it to the baby, well, we’re proud of you. (Speaking of babies: This gorgeous Nectarine Almond Dutch Baby is always a heck of a way to start your day.)
As is true of their summer sibling, the tomato, these juicy little numbers deserve to be treated like the gems they are. If you’re slicing them for something and they’re drooling everywhere, save that juice and use it in cocktails. (Or, you know, just juice them!) We’re thinking Plum and Nectarine Sangria made light and bright with sparkling water. Or a peach-whiskey-lemon juice cocktail redolent of mint. Juicy peaches love bourbon; nectarines can be knockout with gin. Experiment as you like with your preferred spirit; vodka is often very forgiving.
Appetizers & Salads
When thinking about the appetizer or salad portion of your meal, question whether you can’t add a stone fruit! Break out your best aged cheese, fry it and top it with a stone fruit salsa. Remember that peaches in particular love cured pork like prosciutto. The salad above features mascarpone, prosciutto, peaches and good balsamic vinegar. If you want to put a big picture of Milan in front of you and pretend you’re eating at an outdoor café, well, we’re not gonna stop you. Layer the combo on bruschetta with ricotta. Pass a tray that’s just peaches, prosciutto and mint. Swap out prosciutto for coppa, and add pluots. And if you’re having a Caprese salad, add peaches. You’ll wish you’d thought of it sooner.
Pro tip: Pork chops love fruit. In autumn, sauté apples and shallots, deglaze with bourbon, and boom: epic dinner in less than half an hour. In summer, though, look to meaty stone fruit. You can use plums, nectarines or peaches on the grill for the beauty above. Make a simple peach-tomato salsa studded with fresh cilantro and serve it alongside the chops. (Maybe add some polenta, too.) And remember that fish shouldn’t escape the stone fruit treatment; halbut is one heck of a meaty fish, and it just ridiculously good grilled and served with a gingery nectarine chutney.
The ripeness of these fruits can feel so fleeting. One weekend the market is rich with plums, bright and taut, and the next they’re wrinkled. But don’t despair! Even stone fruit slightly past its prime redoubles in sweetness and succulence after a stint in the oven. To wit: Plum Almond Croustade, even easier than pie. (Croustades are essentially open-faced tarts.) Plum Buckle, in which the heavy fruit sinks down, decadently, making this somehow extra-acceptable for breakfast as well as dessert. Classic, dreamboat Peach Pie, so sweet it doesn’t need vanilla ice cream. (But who are we kidding? We’re serving it!) And feel free to let the fruits themselves be the star. Pluots, plums, peaches and nectarines all get mighty nice in a hot oven or on a blazing grill, slicked with olive oil, syrup or honey. Honey Glazed Roasted Peaches with Mascarpone can go right into the 400-degree oven as you take out your entrée. They’re ready in 15 minutes.
Summertime should feel like a snap; let stone fruit help you get there.