The text message I got read “Come over for magazine Sunday.” I know what that means. My neighbors will have gathered at their picnic table with some coffee, various snacks, and a stack of magazines. There will be copies of the New Yorker, someone doing a NYTimes crossword, a few random issues of something like the Atlantic strewn across the table. The sun will shift from one side of the patio to the other while we sit and chat and share tidbits from random articles, or mull over a crossword clue until someone shouts out the answer.
Before heading out the door I generally grab a stack of old food magazines. Back issues of Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, some Saveurs or Cook’s Illustrateds from years past. They’re a little dog-eared from being flipped through; splattered with some kind of sauce from sitting on the counter while I tried a recipe. Some of them have little tags sticking out of recipes I’ve marked as “to make” previously.
This is something I do all the time – mark recipes I want to make. Then I stick the magazine back on the shelf and forget about the all the paper scraps I’ve put into it. And the next time it comes off the shelf, I just add more scraps, or maybe add a star to one already in the magazine – I really want to make this – and almost inevitably, it goes back in the bookshelf a few days later.
On this particular Sunday, I leafed through old issues from summers past looking for inspiration. I marked a few recipes for salads or grilled meat or interesting desserts. And then I stopped on one that read “Peach BBQ Sauce.” I didn’t even read it, didn’t even physically mark it, just made a mental note. The morning wore on and I flipped through other magazines. The one with the recipe ended up somewhere in the stack I carted home.
This is not the peach barbecue sauce from the magazine because, in truth, I still haven’t read that recipe. But when I got home I pulled some early peaches out that had come in our vegetable box. They aren’t sweet and juicy like their late summer counterparts will be. The flavor is muted and they’re in that weird stage between crunchy and soft. I chopped one and added it in while making our favorite barbecue sauce. We kept dipping into it for tastes and then slathered it on chicken later in the week, which we devoured too quickly for photos. And one of those magazines still has a tag for Peach BBQ Sauce that I’ll probably discover sometime next year. C’est la vie.
Peach Barbecue Sauce
Inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit and adapted from this recipe by Hank Shaw, on Simply Recipes
Makes about 2 cups of sauce
This recipe is an adaptation of one for a mustard-based sauce that I discovered a few years ago and fell in love with. Every time I wanted to make it I would have to go on a long search through the Internet because while I knew it was written by Hank Shaw, of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, it’s not posted on his website. It took an embarrassingly long time before I just wrote it down and put in my recipe notebook and even longer before I added my own spin. Adding a peach to the sauce is great even now when peaches aren’t quite in season – I’ll be making even more of this later in the summer when the peaches are sweet and juicy.
1/4 of a medium onion, grated (get all the juice in too)
1/2 cup yellow mustard *
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 peach, pitted and cut into quarters
Up to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (just give it two or three shakes)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbs butter
In a blender or food processor combine the grated onion, mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, peach, cayenne, and salt. Blend or process the ingredients until they’re smooth. You could leave them a little chunky for some texture but that makes it more difficult to use this as a basting sauce and that’s a shame – this makes a delicious sticky glaze if you baste grilling meats or vegetables with it.
Once the sauce is as smooth as you want it, transfer it to a medium sauce pan and put it over medium-high heat until its just comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that it just simmers, add the butter, and let it cook gently for about 30 minutes. Make sure it simmers a little (just a few bubbles every now and then) so that steam keeps evaporating which will concentrate the flavor. But don’t boil it again after adding the butter.
When it’s done, remove it from the heat and let it cool to at least room temperature. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge because of the mustard and vinegar and you can use it as a marinade, basting sauce, or pour it on just at the dinner table.
* I don’t use ballpark-style yellow mustard for much (I’m a bit of a snob that way) but for this recipe there really is no other option. Trust me.