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  • Quick-Braised Peaches With Pancetta and Thyme

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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 to 1 1/2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 tablespoons)
    3 semi-firm peaches, cut into halves and pitted (not peeled)
    8 to 10 small cloves garlic, from 1 small head of fresh summer garlic
    Zest from 1/2 medium lemon (no pith), cut into very thin strips
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
    5 small sprigs thyme
    2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons dry red wine
    Salt, to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Heat the oil and pancetta in a medium, nonreactive skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, until pancetta starts to sizzle and turns translucent in parts. Add the peach halves, cut side down, and the garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until peach bottoms have picked up some color, then gently turn fruit over.
    Add the strips of lemon zest, the crushed red-pepper flakes and thyme sprigs; cook for 2 minutes, then add the vinegar and cook for 2 minutes, until mixture has reduced a bit, then add the red wine. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until peaches are just tender and their skin has started to pull away from their flesh. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
    Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with grilled lamb or pork chops or a grilled, whole chicken. When spooning peaches, be sure to include crisped bits of pancetta and softened garlic.
    Makes 4 servings.
    — Recipe from chef Peter Pastan, owner of Washington's 2 Amys and Obelisk.
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