The Colorado growing season is short, but mighty. We make up for the reduced length with the best and sweetest Olathe (pronounced: o-LAY-tha) sweet corn and toothsome, sticky-dripping Western Slope Palisade peaches. (Visit Colorado wine country, too, if you go to pick peaches.) Somewhere in there the Rocky Ford cantaloupes also ripen, the Pueblo green chiles are roasted on street corners–going into myriad pots of pork green chile or into the freezer for scrambled eggs at Christmas and Super Bowl snacks. (We eat a lot of New Mexican Hatch chiles, too, which come in somewhat milder versions.) If you’re really lucky, you even know someone who fly fishes and will bring back trout we smoke to last all winter long. (More on those last three another post.)
By the way, the Olathe Corn growers and the Palisade Peach producers each sponsor local festivals every summer and they’re coming right up:
We mostly just eat corn and peaches in their natural state–or nearly so. Olathe sweet corn hardly needs any cooking at all and while it’s cheap-cheap (25 cents an ear yesterday), and oh-so-fresh, it’s thrown into boiling pots for only a few minutes or soaked for a half-hour in the husk and quickly grilled. Colorado peaches ripen July-September–depending on the variety. Old hands will tell you to wait for the late crop and, while they’re surely on target, we can’t hold on that long to begin eating peaches with our yogurt for breakfast, on top of our ice cream, or simply out of hand. So many peaches particularly are exported to other states that Coloradans are quick to grab their share as soon as possible and many of us can, make jam, or freeze as much as we are able. When we lived in the Twin Cities, gourmet stores sold them ahead of time by the case. You were advised to sign up early or be prepared to live without Colorado peaches.
Truth in blogging: Our wonderful early Colorado peaches are just about to make their debut, but to get this post up and running, I ended up having to substitute a beautiful California peach so that the recipe would be ready for harvest. Thanks, California!
Update– August 1, 2017: the first Colorado peaches that I’ve seen appeared at our local WHOLE FOODS where the Olathe sweetcorn sale was already in full swing. Hoorah!
Every year I look for something different to do with the local bounty,
and grilling is often my go-to for peaches. (Scroll down for recipe links.)
While the corn’s tasty and perfect cooked all by itself–even without butter or salt–a pot of chowder is also a fun way to showcase it. Recipe in link above.
This year, I wondered about ramping up my grilled peach salsa recipe to include grilled corn and basil rather than cilantro, despite the fact that this is the southwest. I don’t have tremendous luck with basil in my yard as we’re so dang close to the sun, but I never give up. This year I haven’t done too badly at all despite the heat and copious amounts of unusual rain. (We had half of our normal yearly precipitation amount in July alone.)
It was so warm this morning on our hike that Rosie trotted on ahead to rest in the shade.
While the salsa is luscious all on its own, with tortilla chips or veggies, snuggled up in a bun of spicy barbecued pork, or on chicken tacos, I think it’s at its very best on the top of a piece of grilled Sockeye salmon. As soon as the peaches are in wherever you are, try this:
Don’t make much more than you’ll need; it’s best the day it’s made.
GRILLED PEACH AND CORN SALSA
As the name suggests, this salsa contains both grilled peaches and grilled corn. Begin with cooking them on the grill (or even in pots and pans, if necessary) and letting them cool a bit before adding them to the other ingredients.
- 1 grilled peach, peeled, small dice (instructions below)
- Kernels from one ear of grilled corn (about 1/2 cup cooked corn)
- 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, small dice
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 1-2 teaspoons finely minced, seeded jalapeño
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 6 fresh basil leaves, minced
- Juice of 1/2 lime–or more/less to taste
- Pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Stir ingredients together gently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt/pepper, onion, jalapeño, or lime juice as needed. Let rest 10 minutes before serving to marry flavors, stirring once more before serving.
GRILLING PEACHES: Preheat clean grill to medium-high. Brush pitted, halved peaches with a little bit of canola oil on both sides and place cut-side down on the grill. Watching carefully, let cook 3-4 minutes, turning them over when grill marks are well-established, but not too blackened. Cook another 2 minutes until tops of cut sides begin to dry slightly. Remove from grill and cool briefly. (No grill? Use a heavy skillet on your stove instead.)
GRILLED SALMON ON BROWN RICE WITH QUINOA WITH GRILLED PEACH AND CORN SALSA
serves 2 and doubles easily
I’m fond of the simple-to-make microwave packets of Quinoa and Brown Rice made by Seeds of Change. If you’d like to make your grains from scratch, do begin with making them as it will entail more time. You can also sub fresh greens for the grains.
- Grilled Peach and Corn Salsa (recipe above)
- Olive oil
- 2 5-6 ounce salmon fillets
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 8.5 ounce package Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa and Brown Rice Packet (or make your own)
MAKE THE SALSA: (recipe above) and set aside.
PREPARE THE GRILL AND COOK THE FISH: Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil grill grate. Brush salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side or until instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit. (Many people like their salmon much less done than this, but 145 degrees F is for safety reasons.)
MAKE THE QUINOA-BROWN RICE: Meanwhile, make the Quinoa and Brown Rice packet on a plate according to package directions and cover with foil until needed. My packages indicate 90 seconds in the microwave.
SERVE: To plate, divide the Quinoa and Brown rice between two plates or shallow bowls, add a cooked salmon fillet, and garnish with 1/4- 1/3 cup salsa. Serve hot or warm.
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You’re right. We’re really not known for a lot of great produce–or food, for that matter. (Though what we DO have is wondrous!) But come anyway; the beer’s the best in the country!!
Happy summer cooking!