My boyfriend is currently working on the set of a movie filming in Atlanta. Needless to say, he's been working crazy hours and always comes home with war stories from the front line. For the most part, locals have been very welcoming of the Hollywood crowd to our sleepy Southern city. I'm just hoping we can teach those Angelenos a thing or two about Southern hospitality (and food!).
Last week a big scene was being filmed at a major downtown intersection, and the crew was using a church parking lot as "base camp" to keep extra cars and trucks away from traffic. A sweet old man and his wife who care for the church grounds were on hand to assist with any problems (and perhaps get a little peek at all the madness). It just so happens that this man also sells fresh Georgia produce from the parking lot on weekends. He's not a farmer, but over the years he's gained a lot of farmer friends and swears their fruit and veggies are the best in the city.
You can imagine the gentleman's curiosity was sparked when he noticed the on-set caterer — brought in all the way from California — working with some peaches for a crew dessert. Frozen peaches, mind you. He approached the cook and mentioned he had some fresh peaches available if he wanted to try them. The cook seemed disinterested. "My peaches are fine, but thank you." However the nice man persisted. He brought over a fresh peach from his truck, sliced it up with a pocket knife, and offered up a piece to the cook. The cook begrudgingly accepted. After a moment, he wiped his mouth and grinned. "Now that really is a mighty fine peach, sir."
Yep, we sure are proud of our "mighty fine peaches" here in Georgia. There's a reason we are called the Peach State (despite others' claims). That sweet church man just so happened to send my boyfriend home with some peaches, too. I wanted to do them justice, so I decided a spicy peach salsa would showcase them nicely. The beauty of this recipe is that it goes with just about anything. I happened to have a beautiful piece of salmon around, so it got dolloped on top. But you could pile this on grilled bruschetta or scoop it up with chips. However you eat it, it's delicious.
Oh, and like any proper Southern girl would do, I packed up the leftover salsa in a Tupperware and sent it back over to the church with my boyfriend. It wouldn't be right to not let that man taste the power of his peaches. Apparently his wife want crazy for it and demanded the recipe. Well, here ya' go!
3 ripe peaches, about 1 pound
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1/2 - 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint (or more to taste)
Juice from 1/2 lime
Kosher salt, to taste
First you need to peel the peaches. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Cut a small X into the bottom of each peach. Drop the peaches into the boiling water for approximately 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches and immediately submerge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Gently peel the peaches using your hands or a paring knife (the riper the peach, the easier this will be). Dice the peaches into small cubes.
Combine the chopped peaches, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, mint, and lime juice. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Chill for one hour to allow flavors to combine and serve immediately.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)