Photo: Danny Kim. Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

Is there any fruit as peachy as a peach? Its color, its sweetness, its outrageous juiciness cannot be beat. The only problem with peaches is finding ones that live up to their potential. At your local Greenmarket, look for those that are bruise-free and firm but that give slightly to a gentle tweak. A deep, intoxicating fragrance means they’re good and ripe. If you can restrain yourself from devouring them over the sink, bake them in a pie, drop a slice or two into a glass of wine, or try this sweet-and-spicy treatment from the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue pastry chef Charmaine McFarlane.

Charmaine Mcfarlane’s Peaches With Chiles, Sugar, Salt, and Lime

6 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. salt
2 Thai chiles, chopped
2 limes
6 peaches

Combine the sugar, salt, and chopped chiles in a mortar and pestle and grind to a consistency like wet sand. Zest the limes and reserve the fruit for another use. Stir zest into the sugar-salt-and-chile mixture. Halve the peaches by (1) slicing them along their seams and cutting through to the pits and around the fruits. (2) Gently twist until the halves separate. Remove pits. Blanch the peach halves for 45 seconds and remove to an ice bath for a minute. (3) Peel off the skins. Sprinkle peaches with the sugar-and-salt mixture and let macerate for half an hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.