Confession: This is totally not what I wanted to make for peach week.
For a long, long time, the mere mention of peaches has been sending me into a dreamlike state, rendering me momentarily immobile as visions of peach and crème fraîche pie dance in my head. I have wanted to make that pie forever. But I never have an occasion for it. So you’d think, then, that when an opportunity like an obligation to write a post about any peach-related food came along, I’d jump at the chance to finally, finally make my dreams come true… to open my oven and slide out my very own rendition of that beautiful pie.
Alas. Not in the cards.
You see, through a blessed combination of qualifications and good timing, I have managed to land a seasonal job that’s taking me to Tampa until March! And you know what? Although I am so, SO excited about this whole deal, I am also kind of sad, because, dude, I am watching money FLY out of my bank account at a truly alarming rate.
Rent here, deposits there… plus unforeseen expenses coming at me left and right. And I haven’t even bought a bed yet.
And that pie, well, its crust needs a whole lot of butter, and I wouldn’t settle for anything other than organic (and thus especially FRAGRANT, as a walk through any produce section will tell you) peaches, and crème fraîche doesn’t exist in Miami anywhere other than at Whole Foods, and…
Organic peaches? Expensive.
Crème fraîche at Whole Foods (or anything at Whole Foods, for that matter)? Expensive.
Caro, preparing for a cross-state move? Not willing to part with the cash monies necessary to fund this indulgent pie.
So, the other day, when my tummy rumbled to signal the arrival of lunchtime, I ventured to Publix on a mission: lunch, under $5, incorporating a peach.
I took it as a sign of good things to come that upon entering the store, I saw, directly to the right of the door, a huge display of super-gorgeous organic peaches. I picked the prettiest one and went on my merry way.
I wandered up and down the aisles rather aimlessly, and I eventually made it to the dairy section. Where I found goat cheese… on sale! Snagged that. Then I ended up in the bakery section, where the just-baked baguettes made it pretty clear that some sort of sandwich was happening. I grabbed a warm baguette and decided to get some basil. Peach + basil = a really good thing.
Guys, guess what. My Publix doesn’t carry fresh basil. I mean, what?! Maybe it’s my neighborhood. I don’t know… do my fellow Hispanic people not consume basil? I was so confused. Whatever. To the checkout lane.
Total? $5.12. Close enough!
By the time I got home, I had a plan. I sliced/buttered/broiled some baguette and caramelized some peach slices (with dried basil, smh). I topped each toasty baguette slice with a bunch of the peach slices, and I sprinkled much goat cheese over top. Voila! Open-faced peach sliders with goat cheese and (kind of) basil.
Listen. I don’t even know what to say. These were incredible (to me). Well, they were kind of confusing at first. I mean, the crusty bread and the goat cheese made me feel like I was eating a legitimate, sandwich-like meal… but the peaches! The sweet, spicy, buttery, slightly brightened-by-the-basil peaches. Total dessert material. What exactly was I eating? All I know is that I ended up eating the first two I made before I could even turn on my camera. So I made two more and actually photographed them. And then I ate those, too. If lunch and dessert got married and had stunning little children, those children would be these sliders. Who doesn’t want dessert built into his/her meal?!
So let’s review what these have going for them: DELECTABLE, cheap, super easy to make, sophisticated enough to serve to others, and sweet as dessert while substantial as lunch. Perfect? Yeah, I thought so, too. Get to peachin’.
Open-Faced Peach Sliders with Goat Cheese and Basil
I’m pretty sure these would taste even better (is that possible?) and look way nicer with bright green fresh basil. Please use fresh basil. That is, umm, if your grocery store carries it (seriously, wtf, Publix).
Also, I’m not sure what type of baguette I bought. It was just labeled “Baguette”. The slices I cut off it were just shy of four inches in diameter, which I find to be a pretty good slider size. Any crusty white bread that toasts well will be delicious here. Especially sourdough.
Yield: 4 sliders
1 large peach
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried basil (preferably, several leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 inches of a baguette or four slices of thick, crusty white bread (like sourdough)
4 tablespoons goat cheese crumbles
1. Peel the peach. Cut it into quarters to facilitate pit removal, and then slice each quarter into several very thin (~1/8-inch) slices. Eat a couple of the slices, and admire late summer’s bounty.
2. In a small bowl, mix the white and brown sugars, cinnamon, ground cloves, and, only if you’re using dried basil, the basil.
3. Toss the peach slices in the sugar and spice mixture. Eat a couple more slices.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on medium heat.
5. When the butter’s totally melted and even starting to bubble, add the sugar-and-spice-coated peaches to the pan. Bump the heat up to just below medium-high, and let the peaches cook in the butter for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how “done” you want them.
6. While the peaches are cooking, set the oven to broil and cut your baguette section into 4 1-inch-thick slices, or simply grab your four slices of bread. Use the second tablespoon of butter to butter them liberally on both sides.
7. Check on the peaches. Swivel them around in the pan a bit and sort of toss them with a spatula. Do not eat a slice at this point. That sugary butter sauce is H-O-T.
8. Place each slice of bread under the broiler for a minute or two on one side, flip the slices, and leave them under the broiler for another minute or two on the other side. When they’re golden brown all over, take them out and set them aside.
9. The peaches should be done by now. Take them off the heat and let them cool for 1 or 2 minutes.
10. Place 4-5 peach slices on each slice of toasted bread, and generously top with goat cheese crumbles.
11. If you’re using chopped fresh basil, sprinkle it on top of each slider just before serving.
12. Eat, eat, eat.