Palisade peaches are versatile and plentiful
Palisade, just east of Grand Junction is known as the Peach Capital of Colorado. Set along the Colorado River with a backdrop of the Book Cliffs, Grand Mesa and DeBeque Canyon, Palisade is a pastoral setting of vineyards and orchards. From the highlands, winds funnel into the valley creating a temperate growing climate and significantly reducing frost conditions. The peach season depends on the previous winter; since the spring of 2008 was cold and snowy, the ground thawed late and resulted in a late season for peaches. The first of the ripe Colorado peaches started in early August and will continue while the weather holds. Fresh peaches are abundant at roadside stands and farmers markets. The chefs at the new Restaurant Avondale in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa are passionate about using what is seasonal and abundant with simple preparations to bring out the true flavors. Executive Chef Jeremy Kittelson suggests ripe peaches as a great addition to a late summer salad. The herby green goddess dressing pairs well with sweet juicy peaches and spicy greens.
3 anchovy filets, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, dried and coarsely chopped 3/4 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise 1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon leaves 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon minced shallots 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Salt and fresh ground pepper to tasteCombine the anchovies, mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, tarragon, basil, shallots, lemon juice and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a blender. Puree to make a smooth dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days.
2 ripe peaches, sliced2 cups mixed baby greens1/3 cup green goddess dressing1 shallot, slicedFlour for dredging1/2 cup vegetable oilMix the peaches and salad greens and toss lightly with green goddess dressing. Dredge the shallot slices in flour and fry in hot oil until golden and crispy, about one minute. Plate the salads and garnish with shallot crisps. Serves 4.
Pastry Chef Allison Helfer describes a simple dessert that takes just moments to prepare, the perfect finish to a weeknight supper:2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted1/4 cup blackberry preserves1/2 cup heavy cream, whippedPlace the peach halves on a hot grill, cut side down. Grill for about two minutes to heat through. Place each on a plate, grilled side up. Place a tablespoon of blackberry preserves in the center and top with whipped cream. Serves 4.
1/2 ripe peach, peeled and sliced5 leaves fresh sage1 ounce agave nectar 3/4 ounce lemon juice2 1/2 ounces tequila2 dashes orange bittersMuddle peach, sage, agave and lemon juice for 15 seconds. Add tequila and bitters. Shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a sliver of peach wrapped in a sage leaf.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Restaurant Avondale. Chef/Owner Thomas Salamunovich will open Avondale this month in The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. The restaurant features a West Coast inspired, seasonal menu and the chefs use time-honored cooking methods, such as slow roasting and braising, to create simple dishes rich in flavor. The wine program focuses on small production wines to compliment the straightforward cuisine. For more information visit http://www.avondalerestaurant.com.