Hot Paprika Peaches & Cream
In San Francisco, summer takes her sweet time turning into fall. Even though we struggle with the fog in July and August, we love that 75 degree days finally emerge and extend into late October. With the warm weather comes lasting summer produce; you can find perfectly ripe peaches, nectarines, and apricots at the farmers’ market, and tomatoes that are ungodly levels of sweet. It's exciting to be back in the kitchen after a summer full of traveling, and while my kitchen creativity and tired body lag behind my ever-excited brain, I'll resurrect some recipes from the early summer months.
Paprika is a spice that didn’t have a presence in my mom’s South Indian kitchen, however paprika fits right into the Indian spice tin, as if it has always belonged there. Paprika is most well known in Hungarian and Spanish cuisines (instead of black pepper, Hungarian tables are home to salt and paprika shakers), and yet it is a seamless accompaniment to ginger, turmeric, garlic, cumin, coriander, and any number of Indian spices. It adds incredible color and flavor to curry, and in my life, to hot sauces. As with many spices, you can release the aroma and flavor of paprika even further by sautéing it in hot oil, but careful not to burn it.
Paprika is ground from the dried fruit of different varieties of the capsicum plant. I have four types of paprika in my spice drawer, and I use them all frequently: Sweet Hungarian, Sweet Spanish Smoked, Hot Hungarian, and Hot Smoked. Each of these is incredibly approachable, and you won’t have any trouble using them in everyday dishes. While warming a bottled tomato sauce on the stove, heighten the sauce by mixing in Spanish or Hot smoked paprika. Mix Hot Hungarian into your scrambled eggs. Quickly toast Sweet Hungarian paprika and whisk into an olive oil and sherry vinegar salad dressing. The options are endless.
The ‘hot paprika peaches & cream’ recipe to follow is one of my favorites of the summer. It hits all of my favorite flavor notes: juicy, sweet, spicy, crunchy, creamy, salty. It works fantastically as an appetizer, or a healthy-ish dessert. It’s so delicious and makes you feels like you’re doing something wrong. Thankfully, grilled peaches are one of those sweet little gifts we’ve been given to make us forget about candy and ice cream, and I promise these make you feel equally as guilty.
8 ripe yellow peaches
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tbsp hot smoked paprika (or any hot paprika)
10 cubes candied ginger
½ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
High quality olive oil for drizzling
Cast-iron grill pan (or grill, but i prefer grill pan for fruit)
Halve peaches. Put 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil in a pan and heat to medium, add pepitas when oil is shimmering. Toast for 1-2 minutes, until pepitas are crisp but not browned. Add paprika to the pan and toss for 30 seconds. (Paprika is easy to burn, so don’t toss for more than 30 seconds). Slice candied ginger thinly. Thin yogurt by whisking in 1 tbsp of cold water, until you get a soupy consistency. Add more water if needed.
Grill peaches cut-side down for 3 minutes, until grill marks evident. Flip and grill for another minute. Peaches should remain firm enough to handle, without getting too soft and mushy.
Place peaches cut side up on a platter. Top with large flake sea salt, then pepitas and candied ginger. Drizzle yogurt sauce and high quality olive oil over each peach.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or dessert.
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