Several weeks ago, the topic of the day on one of my favorite radio shows was summer produce, and listeners called in to share their recipes for tomatoes, corn, melon and more. Many of their ideas were pretty standard stuff—gazpacho, corn and tomato salads, ham-draped melon—but my ears perked up when a caller from Mississippi described what he called a local favorite: peaches stuffed with shallots, wrapped in bacon and grilled. Now that sounded interesting.
I could tell right away that the combination of the flavors of peach, shallot, and bacon would be spot-on, but I wasn't sure I liked the idea of the raw shallots in the center, and I also though that halving, stuffing and re-assembling the peach into its whole form could be trickier than I wanted to deal with at a casual summer barbecue. So I adapted the recipe to be both easier and more delicious.
I take mounds of chopped shallots—trust me, you'll need them, as they cook down to next to nothing—and sweat them, slowly, in the fat left behind by the bacon I've crisped and chopped. As the shallots turn sticky-sweet and caramelized, I halve peaches and throw them on the grill until they're browned and slumpy-soft. Finally, I prepare a bed of soft butter lettuce where I pile the peaches, fill their cavities with the tender shallots, drape everything in a simple, creamy buttermilk dressing, and shower the whole with crunchy bacon.
It's an adaptation I think even that caller from Mississippi would appreciate.