The (Bacon-Kissed) Taste of Summer

Today, sitting in my cabin office looking out onto the peach orchard, I was taken by the simple beauty of our Texas Hill Country oasis. I looked out at the fire pit just up from the rippling pond behind our store, canopied by the pines, and I began to imagine a beautiful picnic comprised completely of peaches. 

And as I imagined the cobblers, ice cream, strudel, jams, and salads with fresh grilled peaches, I realized that this was my fantasy and it was missing a key component to any food fantasy I can call mine. It was missing bacon.

Now of course It’s summertime and here in Fredericksburg, home of Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, that means peaches are on the menu.  Walk into our store, Das Peach Haus, and you will be welcomed by the aroma of freshly baked peach cobbler. And there are nearly as many recipes for peach ice cream here in Fredericksburg as there are roadside peach stands that sell it. But all I can think about is how much I like bacon. Naturally I thought the two should go together. I read once that sometimes going with your first thought is best, so I did. And the Peach Popper was born.

I started with the obvious ingredients: peaches, cheese and bacon, and for the cheese I went with Brie.  My original vision was to use the outdoor grill, but decided instead to use a cast Iron griddle. After cutting one of our freshly picked peaches into wedges, I sliced a piece of brie about an eighth of an inch thick and about the length and width of the peach wedge. I placed the cheese to one side of the peach and wrapped it with the bacon.

A smile of satisfaction consumed my being as the bacon-wrapped peach was placed on the griddle to a symphony of sizzling splendor. After a few minutes of turning the peach from one side to the other, with delicious anticipation I pulled the peach from the griddle. I had already made a pool of our German fig mustard in the center of the plate ready to receive its accompaniment.

Rarely do I get it on the first try but this just worked. Of course, when a few of my fellow workers made their way into the kitchen, ideas began to flow. We tried several combinations of cheese. For us the winners were the original brie and cambozola. And though the cambozola was quite good, the milder Brie allowed more of the peach flavor to come through. We also tried it with a thin slice of poblano pepper, and though it was very good too. Simple carried the day.

Steve Sommers is executive chef at the Culinary Adventure Cooking School in Fredericksburg.

PEACH POPPER

2 fresh peaches cut into approximately 8 wedges

8 pieces of bacon, cut in half

Small wheel of brie. Cut 16 1/8th inch thick slices, about the size of the peach wedges

1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions

1 jar of Texas German Fig Mustard Sauce

Take a peach wedge and a piece of brie. Place the cheese to one side of the peach and wrap it with one of the cut pieces of bacon. Do this with all your peach wedges. Place you griddle or pan on the stove and turn on the burner letting it get hot. Once the pan is hot place the wedges in the pan with the bacon seam down (this keeps it from unwrapping).

Once all sides of the poppers are a golden brown, pull them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess grease.  Put a spoonful of the mustard sauce in the center of the plate. Place the popper on the sauce and sprinkle with sliced green onions. Please play with this recipe and find your favorite combinations. Serves 2-4.


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