Updated: Sep 30, 2017
These peaches were huge, as big as softballs, and fragrant. Their flesh was bright yellow-orange, solid, not quite dripping with juice but gleaming. The first bite exploded in my mouth with the essence of summer, and melted away as smoothly as a dream. Inside, the crenelated rosy cavity opened perfectly.
The boxes were in the back of a pickup, parked on the north side of Madison beside a hand-painted sign that read PEACHES. They were seven pounds for $20. The sample sealed the deal.
Home to the kitchen, and peach crisp.
Slide each peach into a big pot of boiling water with a slotted spoon. Just for half a minute, then lift it into a cold-water bath. When they’re all scalded, rub the skins right off with a gentle touch, leaving the smooth solid flesh ready to slice right into the baking dish.
To make the topping, crumble together butter, brown sugar, oatmeal, nuts, and cinnamon. Be inventive, to your taste. Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit. Bake at 350. Start checking on it at about 25 minutes. When it’s all brown and bubbly, take it out.
Try to wait a few minutes or you’ll burn your tongue. The cooling powers of vanilla ice cream help. Save a few peaches for slicing and savoring all by themselves: a perfect peach is a rare thing indeed.