What can I say about peaches? I love them and I hate them at the same time.

Why do I hate them, you may ask? Well… when I escaped my homeland of then-Czechoslovakia and ended up in a refugee camp in former Yugoslavia back in 1980, I needed to make extra cash, so I started working in peach orchards.

I got so tired of peaches that I couldn’t eat them or even look at them for several years!

Fortunately, I am over that now, and I love peaches. I use them when they’re in season for several of my favorite recipes.

First, a salad of Arugula, baby tomatoes, small cherry-size boccocini (small, round, fresh mozzarella balls), chopped peaches, chopped basil, balsamic and olive oil.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with really good extra virgin olive oil and a really great aged balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve, season with fresh ground pepper and you’re ready to go. If you want a bit of crunch, you can add hazelnuts or walnuts to the salad, as well.

Second— peaches and fresh burrata. For this I use peaches in several ways to create multiple flavor profiles. I sauté sliced peaches in a non-stick pan with unsalted butter. Sauté them until they get soft, but don’t over do it, otherwise they get too mushy.

Set them aside on a plate with a paper towel so so they dry out. Then,  peel one peach and dice the flesh into small pieces, set them aside in a bowl and
refrigerate them. Peel another peach and chop it, add it to a small food processor along with mint, basil, a touch of honey, and blend, then slowly add hazelnut oil and create nice thick “salsa.”

When done set the sautéed peaches in the middle of the plate, set “ball” of burrata on top of them. Drizzle aged balsamic around it and top with peach salsa and the fresh, cold, chopped peach chunks. Sprinkle fresh mint for color and taste.

~Chef Kamil