Again with the Peaches?

Of course. It’s late summer, after all, and the stonefruit is gloriously in season. Time for the produce, which is fantastic most of the time, to attain perfection. Sweet and tangy, juicy and lush, peaches are precisely why we spend the rest of the year dreaming about August.

This week, peaches make up a vibrant sauce adorning grilled scallops in a dish Thai street food inspired. Specifically, Grilled Scallops with Peach Sweet Chili Sauce, as presented in Bon Appetit‘s August 2021 issue.

Though the magazine featured the recipe, chef Leela Punyaratabandhu developed it originally for her book, Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill. The dish is a luscious tribute to a vendor cart favorite in Bangkok, replacing the original fish balls with similarly textured, and flavored, scallops. The shellfish has the additional advantage of being much more practical for the home cook.

The scallops spend a little time on the grill, sufficient just to cook them through, while retaining the ideal soft silky texture. The grill’s heat, carefully controlled though just inches from the flame, replicates the charcoal braziers which give the street food its characteristic light char. In today’s case, this results in a pleasingly caramelized crust on either side.

Consequently, the fish is toasty and buttery, with a touch of fresh sweetness. What better way to accent this beautiful combination than with a sauce which is peach-forward, buzzing with a honeyed piquancy? Being Thai, the sauce hits the full range of fruity flavors, from sweet and tart in the peach, to spicy in the pepper:

The glaze is wonderfully playful, thus taking full advantage of the tasty range for which Thai cuisine is famous. The sweet, the tangy and the fiery don’t cancel each other so much as they balance their counterparts. Each element delights the palate in distinctive fashion, while the other two provide its perfectly complimentary contrast.

What fruit other than the peach is capable of such a performance? This is a season’s highlight, the culmination of summer’s riches. All this warmth, all this sunshine went into making this perfect moment. Soon, we’ll long for the experience, its vitality animating our dreams for the next year. It’s not peaches again?, but peaches triumphant!


Today’s Spoonflower design is called Red Scallops (get it?), and the artist is Katherine Fultz. She named her enterprise Purple Peach Studio. See how everything works with today’s theme?


Grilled Scallops with Peach Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 1 red Thai chili, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled ripe peach
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (*1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 16 large sea scallops, side muscle removed and patted dry
  • vegetable oil, for brushing
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • lime wedges and cilantro sprigs, for serving (optional)

Purée chili, garlic, peach, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.  Transfer purée to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until starting to bubble around edges, about four minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in one teaspoon water.  Whisk cornstarch slurry into purée and simmer, whisking constantly, about a minute.  Stir in vinegar and let sauce cool.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.  Brush scallops lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until charred and cooked through, about three minutes per side.

Taste sauce and add more sugar, salt, or vinegar if needed.  Spoon sauce onto a platter and arrange scallops on top.  If using, garnish with cilantro and serve lime wedges alongside.


1 – If you have palm sugar, use it, as Bangkok’s street vendors do.  For those of you not in Thailand, though, or among those who aren’t insufferably pretentious, a teaspoon of light brown sugar will do nicely.


14 thoughts on “Again with the Peaches?

  1. Ha! Well done. Not only do I now have a craving, but you also managed to make me laugh. Granted, neither of those things are an unusual feat for you; but I’ll admit, the names associated with your latest Spoonflower inclusion caught me by amused surprise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad to read of your smile, Rachel! With that, the recipe and its write-up achieved their objectives.

      Yeah, today’s fabric and its studio approached the food from opposite directions, yet they worked together to elevate the recipe. Sometimes, Fate smiles down upon certain weeks. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love peach… anything!

    I’m not sure the reason it’s called a “stone fruit”, though. But I’ve heard this expression in the past. Curious.

    Another AMAZING recipe! I think I could substitute chicken for the seafood, though. Yes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tamara! The first part’s easy to understand. A “stone” is the single pit, usually substantive, around which the fruit grows. Contained within is a seed. Thus, stone fruit all have pits and they include peaches, of course, as well as plums and cherries.

      Yep, chicken is a serviceable substitute. I’d recommend dark meat for its superior succulence. Take two boneless, skinless thighs, and grill both. After they cool, cut each thigh lengthwise into three strips of equal width. In turn, cut each strip into three equal pieces. That’s it – you’ve replaced the scallops!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhh, now I finally understand what is meant by “stone fruit”. Probably apricots, too, then.

        Thank you for the easy directions on using chicken (so much). Yes, dark meat of chicken is definitely more tender and sounds like it’ll be delicious! 😋

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Uh huh. Apricots for sure, and I think mangoes too. Nothing really unifies stone fruit other than its members’ shared structure.

        Glad the chicken switch-up appeals, Tamara. Really, peaches compliment nearly any protein. It’s that combination of sweet, tart, and savory. In this week’s sauce, spicy too.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Much appreciated, Jenn!

      A great pairing, right? Pork and peaches/apples has been an idealized duo for centuries now.

      Not much of a pork fan, though, to be honest. However, switch out the protein, and now we’re talking! Another commenter doesn’t really like scallops (ay, pobrecita) and asked about replacing them with grilled chicken. Another magnificent option.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmmm…does that avoidance apply to all forms of swine? No bacon? Not even Canadian bacon? Take off, eh! Like, what do you eat while polishing off a couple six-packs of Molson when Bob & Doug Mackenzie stop by?

        While I can’t match your principled record, pork holds no special appeal, either. I could go the rest of my years…

        Oh, maybe once a year or so, to look after the pork fans out there, but don’t think I’m not craving poultry instead.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crystal! Perfect balance for everything.

      The flavors flatter each other, instead of canceling their partners. It makes sense. If the goal simply were to flatten the opposite edges, of what service would it be to source vibrant ingredients? You’d have gruel.

      Liked by 1 person

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