The back roads of Central Texas have been alive with the sights and smells of local farm stands selling their most anticipated summer-season specialty – Hill Country Peaches. They are so sweet and delicious straight from the bushel, sometimes it’s hard not to greedily gobble them all up before arriving home.
This year I used restraint (by putting them in the car trunk), and we arrived home from Stonewall, Texas with plenty of this popular stone fruit to make peach cobbler, slow-cooker peach sauce, and ice cream – the July rite of passage. I even had a few extra to make an awesome salad featuring this grill fruit and the recipe I’m sharing today – Smoky Peach Chipolte Vinaigrette & Marinade. Read on the get more juicy details and the instructions.
What makes a Texas Hill Country peach so good? Is it the soil or the sun, the knowledge that the plump globes have likely just been plucked from a limb, the loving care of Texas farmers, the ritual outing to a farm stand or orchard, or (my guess) all of the above?
Any peach will do for my dressing recipe, you don’t have to use fruit from Stonewall, Fredricksbug or another nearby town – but, if you can, please DO! In a real pinch you can even use thawed frozen peach slices, I won’t judge. If for some reason you end up with TOO MANY fresh peaches, learn how to blanch, package up and freeze them for later right HERE.
And because this is the Lone Star State where we like to kick up our sweet with spicy, I added a bit of ground chipotle to the dressing. If you don’t know what a Chipotle is (no, not the restaurant chain), it’s a fully ripe and red jalapeno that has been dry smoked. Chipotle has a pretty powerful flavor profile and its smoky heat can quickly dominate a recipe – a little goes a long way!
This Smoky Peach Chipolte Vinaigrette & Marinade is excellent on a salad of delicate lettuces adorned with a bounty of the season’s best offerings. Since I was already grilling peaches for my dressing, I just added some extra slices on the lightly-oiled grates. After grilling a couple minutes each side, the sugars in peaches become deliciously caramalized adding depth of flavor to any recipe.
The vinaigrette takes a cold quinoa or pasta salad to a whole ‘nutha level and can also used as a marinade for steaks, chicken, pork or seafood. Each 2 tablespoon serving has 45 calories and 3g of heart-healthy fats (complete nutrition in the printable recipe below).