As we wait for local tomatoes and peppers to hit their stride and for local melon season to kick in, there is an abundant summer harvest to savor.
We’ll have local blueberries for another couple of weeks, wild blackberries are sweet and juicy, and Dry Creek Peach and Produce’s spectacular Arctic Gem white peaches are about a week away. It won’t be long before the Gravenstein apple’s short season begins.
Sonoma County’s other signature fruit, the Santa Rosa Plum, will be gone before you know it so indulge now. Pluots, early in their season, show the promise of being as extraordinary as they were last year, the best season in memory.
It is the season for sipping peach bellinis as the sun sinks down behind the coastal hills and eating simply and, of course, deliciously. If you eat seasonally, this is the easy season, when delicious meals all but make themselves in our fields and orchards.
Dry Creek Peach and Produce is near the beginning of their season. The six-and-a-half acre farm has about 1,000 trees, with 30 different varieties that ripen not simultaneously but in succession. Their season usually begins around Memorial Day and wraps up around Labor Day. This year, there is not yet enough fruit for the farm stand to open but you can find the current harvest at the Healdsburg Farmers Market.
The season peaks with the miraculous Arctic Gem, a white peach that thrives on this little patch of land. File this information under “things I shouldn’t talk about too much” and remember not to hog them. Yes, they are that good.
Make this sauce when you have great peaches. It is sweet, savory, and a bit spicy, and is delicious in a variety of dishes, not just with burrata. Several suggestions follow the recipe. White peaches make the most delicate sauce; sauce made with yellow peaches is slightly earthier.
Burrata with Peach-Cilantro Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
1-2 limes, washed (see Note below)
1 large or 2 medium peaches, pit removed, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 serrano, stemmed and chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
— Kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 rounds of burrata
— Black pepper in a mill
Use a zester — preferably a microplane zester — to grate the outer skin of the lime. Set it aside. Cut the limes in half and squeeze out the juice, using a reamer if need be. Set it aside.
Put the peach, garlic, serrano and cilantro into the work bowl of a food processer and pulse several times. Season with salt, add half the lime juice and the olive oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, taste and correct for salt and acid balance, adding the remaining lime juice if the sauce tastes a bit flabby. If it is too acidic, add a bit more salt and a bit more olive oil. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and let rest 15 minutes.
To keep longer, chill, then remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.
To serve, pour the sauce into a wide shallow bowl. Set the burrata on top, scatter the lime zest on top of it, add a few turns of black pepper and serve right away.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Drop dead gorgeous chardonnays
Three Sticks, 2015 Durell Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.5% alcohol, $55. ★★★★1/2
A chardonnay with great complexity — bright stone fruit, hazelnut and creme brulee. Lush, but manages to be balanced. Great minerality. Supple texture, with a lingering finish. Absolutely knockout.
Merry Edwards, 2014 Olivet Lane, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 14%, $60. ★★★★1/2: This is a striking chardonnay with great depth. Notes of melon, fig and spice. Supple texture. Rich, yet balanced. Nice length. Extremely well crafted. Impressive.
Cuvaison, 2015 Adda Carneros, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.2%, $26. ★★★1/2: This is a pretty chardonnay weighted to stone fruit — peach and apricot. A hint of honeysuckle and a splash of lime in the mix. A steal for the price.
Dierberg, 2014 Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, 13.8%, $32. ★★★★: A blousy chardonnay with rich flavors, but it has a nice underpinning of bright acidity. Notes of ripe apple, melon and toasty oak. Lovely.
Bravium, 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 14.1%, $25. ★★★★: A chardonnay that over delivers for the price. Layered with notes of pineapple, toast, honey and honeydew. Bright acidity, coupled with good minerality. The pineapple gives this chardonnay a refreshing twist. Delightful.