Last of summer’s peaches lend sweetness to roast pork

Peaches lend a bit of sweetness to roast pork shoulder; the pork, in turn, imbues the peaches with savoriness.
Peaches lend a bit of sweetness to roast pork shoulder; the pork, in turn, imbues the peaches with savoriness. Chicago Tribune

The night sky, as I once understood it, held big moon and small stars. I assumed that the astronaut could roll down the rocket window and run his fingers through the sequins.

Now I’m hip to perspective – those sparkles burn huge, and hugely far away. Though sometimes, fantasy still outshines fact.

Late one late-summer night, my favorite scientist and I went out for a look. After the ripe-peach moon sank, the stars took up their posts anchoring the constellations. We connected the easy dot-to-dots: Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt.

We were trying to work out the hero Perseus, sword raised, when one renegade spot broke loose and shot across the horizon. Another followed. I swear I heard them snicker. Three more sped through the dark. They seemed to be ditching their jobs and sprinting, just to troll us.

Meteor shower, explained the scientist; not stars, but comet debris. That, I thought, or sequins goofing off. It’s a matter of perspective.

Peach and roast pork

Prep: 15 minutes; cook: 2 hours; makes: 4 servings

3 cloves garlic

1 length (2 inches long) fresh ginger, peeled

2 teaspoons dark-brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 boneless pork shoulder (aka butt), 2 to 3 pounds

3 pounds fresh, ripe peaches, pitted, sliced (no need to peel)

Mash: Drop garlic into a mortar. Grate in ginger. Measure in sugar, salt and pepper. Using the pestle, mash to a thick paste. (Lacking mortar and pestle, use a spice grinder or chop finely with a heavy knife.)

Season: Slice pork in half horizontally so that the meat is no more than 2 inches thick. Rub all over with spice paste. Settle in a single layer in a large (10- to 12-inch) cast-iron skillet. Tuck half the peach slices around the edges.

Roast: Slide skillet into a 425-degree oven. Roast, 45 minutes. Tuck remaining peaches around meat. Lower the temperature to 325 and continue to roast until meat is darkly browned on top and very tender, about 75 minutes more (2 hours total). Pull pan out of oven.

Serve: Remove meat and peaches to a platter (some fat will remain in skillet). Serve. Tasty, right?

Leah Eskin, The Chicago Tribune