Peaches, chiles, lamb — there are only a few local foods Coloradans really pride themselves on, and now is the prime season for about one-third of them. Following a cooler, wetter spring, the organic Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss is just reaching its peak peach harvest, a little later in the summer.
Fourth-generation farmer Steve Ela grows not only peaches, but also cherries, pears, apples and more, all at about 1,000 feet higher than Colorado’s famed Palisade orchards. That means the state’s peach season can now stretch from July well into September, when Ela will still sell some of its 15 varieties across 10 Front Range farmers markets.
“(Palisade farms) have them early. We have them late,” said Jeni Nagle, Ela’s sales and distribution manager.
Starting the last week of August, Ela will also harvest freestones — peaches with pits that fall right off the fruit’s flesh — as opposed to clings, which do just what their name suggests. And this week, Nagle is dropping off boxes of the farm’s fruit to a dozen Denver restaurants, among them, Potager, Park Burger, Beast + Bottle and Safta, which all feature fresh peaches on their seasonal menus.
From cocktails and seafood dishes to burgers and hand pies, here are 20 ways to enjoy peaches right now at Denver-area restaurants:
In a cocktail
The table tennis bar on 17th Avenue recently expanded its patio, and it’s a good spot now to order the late-summer special Palisade Smash made with peach whiskey, lemon, demerara, aperitif and mint.
Ace Eat Serve, 501 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 303-800-7705, aceeatserve.com
As foie gras
The fancy new French restaurant downtown has a peach foie gras at the moment, served with laurel custard and a buckwheat brioche.
Morin, 1600 15th St., Denver, 303-623-0534, morindenver.com
At Lower Highland’s Old Major, the summer walleye sits on a peach puree also with cherries, black garlic and macadamia nuts.
Old Major, 3316 Tejon St., Denver, 720-420-0622, oldmajordenver.com
Grilled with pork belly
Brand new to West Highland, the American Elm bistro and cocktail bar is preparing a crispy pork belly with grilled peaches and charred salsa verde.
American Elm, 4132 W. 38th Ave., Denver, 720-749-3186, amelm.com
RELATED: American Elm is the summer opening we’ve been waiting for
On a burger
Starting on Saturdays in September, Park Burger is serving a special Colorado peach burger to coincide with Georgia football games, as the restaurant’s owner went to college in Georgia.
Park Burger RiNo, 2615 Walnut St., Denver, 720-381-0126, parkburger.com
Classic peaches and cream
In Aurora, order chef Caroline Glover’s latest summer dessert, a play on her family’s recipe with a brandy snap, diplomat cream, fresh peaches and basil (see below for a version you can make at home).
Annette, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-710-9975, annettescratchtotable.com
In a salad
Head to Cherry Creek’s Italian occasion restaurant for insalata di rucola with arugula, sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, peaches, speck and saba crema.
Barolo Grill, 3030 E. 6th Ave., Denver, 303-393-1040, barologrilldenver.com
The burrata Napoletana on this Lower Highland summer menu combines heirloom tomatoes, peaches, Persian cucumbers and Marcona almonds with vanilla bean, tarragon and rose water.
The Bindery, 1817 Central St., Denver, 303-993-2364, thebinderydenver.com
Fruition’s new chef, Jon Lavelle, has a late-summer menu scattered with peaches. Try the Maple Leaf Farms duck with heirloom beet, almond, thyme, mustard greens and peach.
Fruition, 1313 E. 6th Ave., Denver, 303-831-1962, fruitionrestaurant.com
The RiNo’s Italian restaurant’s risotto di pesca, available through mid-September, will feature peaches balanced by a red wine reduction.
Il Posto, 2601 Larimer St., Denver, 303-394-0100, ilpostodenver.com
In another salad
Head to south Denver for this summer salad topped with peaches, strawberries, basil, arugula, mint, goat cheese, pistachio and a raspberry vinaigrette.
Le French, 4901 S. Newport St., Denver, 720-710-8963, lefrenchdenver.com
This month, this Capitol Hill restaurant’s cult-favorite cheese souffle is made with corn, peach salsa and a tomato-peach emulsion.
Potager, 1109 N. Ogden St., Denver, 303-832-5788, potagerrestaurant.com
When on Larimer Square, try Rioja’s peach ravioli with peach mascarpone-stuffed pasta, duck sausage, baby squash, peach vinaigrette and almonds.
Rioja, 1431 Larimer St., Denver, 303-820-2282, riojadenver.com
With some crudo
You can pair your big eye tuna crudo — featuring peaches and a shishito puree — with a summery peach daiquiri to drink on the 17th Avenue patio.
Beast + Bottle, 719 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 303-623-3223, beastandbottle.com
Next to lamb shank
The Israeli restaurant at The Source Hotel makes its pomegranate-braised lamb shank seasonal with labneh, citrus and peaches.
Safta, 3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver, 720-408-2444, eatwithsafta.com
In a hand pie
Across the way from Safta, pair peach hand pies with boozy peach slushies and, soon, a peach cobbler with house-made ice cream on the side.
Smok, 3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver, 720-452-2487, denversmok.com
In a fried pie
Pastry chef Nadine Donovan makes a seasonal fried peach pie with vanilla ice cream, a raspberry reduction and graham cracker crumble.
Steuben’s, 7355 Ralston Road, Arvada, 303-830-0096, steubens.com
Also in Larimer Square, Tag’s Campana buffalo mozzarella is made with charred peaches, guanciale, pine nuts and Calabrian chili oil.
Tag, 1441 Larimer St., Denver, 303-996-9985, tag-restaurant.com
Or with goat cheese
This Lower Downtown pub is serving fresh peaches with a goat cheese crema, tamarind dressing, mustard-toasted almonds, pickled mustard seed, watercress and parsley.
Euclid Hall, 1317 14th St., Denver, 303-595-4255, euclidhall.com
And more crudo, this time with salmon
Behind Union Station, customers can start with a sockeye salmon crudo with peaches, nasturtiums, basil and mezcal, and finish with a peach zabaione made with marsala and almond crumble.
Tavernetta, 1889 16th St. Mall, Denver, 720-605-1889, tavernettadenver.com
Annette’s peaches and cream recipe
Chef Caroline Glover’s latest summer dessert is a play on her family’s recipe with a brandy snap, diplomat cream, fresh peaches and basil. Here’s how you can make it at home.
For the Diplomat Cream:
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
10 egg yolks (you can use 10 Tbsp of pasteurized egg yolks)
4 Tbsp cold butter
6 Tbsp corn starch
2 sheets gelatin
1 tsp vanilla bean
1 lemon (zest only)
1 cup cream, whipped
Heat 4 cups of milk with ½ cup sugar, bring just to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, other half of sugar and cornstarch. Temper mixture into warm cream. Add the two sheets of gelatin (make sure you soften them in water first) and whisk constantly for about a minute until thickened. Place in a large, deep pan to cool down, and continue to whisk occasionally as it’s cooling. Add in cold butter and fully whisk until melted. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Once it is fully cooled, whisk so all clumps are removed, and fold in whipped cream.
For the Brandy Snaps:
1 pound butter
½ tsp dried ginger
1 cup molasses
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp brandy
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups flour
Combine all ingredients except flour in a medium pot. Whisk until melted and let simmer for one minute. Take off heat and whisk in flour until fully combined. Let cool. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place 1 Tbsp of dough six times on a sheet tray lined with a silicone baking mat. Cook 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before putting in a serving bowl to shape (see photo).
To serve: Place a layer of sliced peaches on the bottom of the brandy snap, a dollop of diplomat cream on top and then more fresh peaches on top along with some torn basil.
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