I have a confession to make: I’m afraid of my grill.
I had originally planned to write this recipe weeks ago, because peaches were everywhere and grilling them seemed like a relatively simple way to enjoy them for dessert. I purchased some bourbon and crème fraîche, and brought home a big sack of plump, ripe, deliciously fragrant peaches. In the back of my mind, I thought about googling “how to light a charcoal grill without blowing anything up or falling off the balcony.” I also thought about making my boyfriend do it. People light grills every day, right? I figured between the two of us—educated, 30-something, grown-ass adults—we could figure it out.
But we never did. The grill sits on this tiny balcony outside of my apartment, an 8’x 4′ sliver of concrete eight stories above ground, and I’m mildly afraid of heights. I’m also, thanks to my grease fire trauma, basically terrified of lighting a fire anywhere near my NYC apartment. Dire mental images of citywide fire disasters, cats trapped on balconies, and angry landlords drifted through my mind. Meanwhile, Rob was out of town for work. So the peaches sat on the counter.
Peaches don’t last that long, and I try not to flagrantly waste good food, so after a few days something had to be done. The fruit had reached a critical point of ripeness, and I was nowhere near starting this dumb grill. So I threw them in the oven (pit the peaches and slice them in half, put a tiny bit of butter and brown sugar in the center, and bake them cut sides up at 375 degrees for 25 minutes) and made my bourbon glaze.
I could have stopped here. The baked peaches were really good! But this felt like a cop-out, and I have a real problem with failure. So I did what any other 31-year-old woman in my position would do: I waited three weeks and then, on vacation with my dad, I made him grill the peaches. Worse: I made him grill them in the dark. When I went down to check on the status of things—I am an expert in “supervising”—he was grilling by candlelight in the black of night, because there were no outdoor lights on the back porch of this beach house we were renting, and the back porch was where the grill was. Dads, amiright? Anyway, it was worth it. (Especially since I didn’t have to face my fears or otherwise make any significant sacrifices.) These peaches rule. Someone please teach me how to light a charcoal grill.
GRILLED PEACHES WITH CRÈME FRAICHE AND BOURBON GLAZE
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. Bourbon (I recommend “Old Granddad,” because it is called “Old Granddad.”)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
5 yellow peaches, halved and pitted
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup crème fraîche
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Slowly pour in the brown and white sugar, stirring throughout. Whisk in the bourbon. Let the mixture simmer, whisking constantly, until it has reduced to a thin syrup, about 20 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Brush the cut sides of the peaches lightly with olive oil. On medium-high heat, grill them, face-down, for 5-7 minutes, until they’re cooked through but still firm. Remove from heat.
Add a dollop of crème fraîche to the center of each peach. Drizzle with the bourbon glaze. Serve and eat immediately.