Peaches, pistachios, sugar snaps and basil

Peaches, pistachios, sugar snaps and basil

The last of peach season is here, and before it gets away, I want to give away a stellar peach recipe from Southern Cooking for Company.

Book marketers don’t recommend giving away your content. If everything’s available free on the internet, people won’t buy your book. Yet so many generous, open-handed cooks shared their exceptional recipes with me, and I want to share with you.

Besides, it’s important to me that people see how much Southern cooking has evolved, and yet how authentically Southern it remains. The South is a different place than it was 50 years ago. The person standing at the stove is a different race or gender, or wasn’t born in the South. The ingredients in the refrigerator would have been wildly exotic to our grandparents, and even our parents. Even some of the techniques would have been unfamiliar to a traditional Southern cook.

A lot has changed, and Southern food is changing with it. I’m pleased to have been able to document a small corner of the change. And in that spirit, I present Couscous with Peaches and Sugar Snaps as a good example. Neither couscous nor sugar snaps were available in the South of 1965. And this salad would likely have included either Jell-O or mayonnaise or both. But we are lucky to have access to more and fresher ingredients now, whose full and lively flavors don’t need any help to be delicious.

I thank Donya Mullins, Georgian and blogger at A Southern Soul, for a really fine recipe that’s been the workhorse of my potluck offerings for the last two peach seasons.


Couscous Salad with Fresh Peaches and Sugar Snaps
Serves 8
The lime juice and pistachios make this salad, so avoid substitutions.
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 11/4 cups water
  2. 1 cup couscous
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  5. 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  7. 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh peaches
  9. 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  10. 3 tablespoons torn or julienned basil
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, oil and salt. Let stand, off the heat and covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Cook the sugar snaps in boiling water until they turn bright green. Drain and chill in ice water; drain.
  3. Combine the lime juice, olive oil and salt in the serving bowl or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Stir or shake to combine.
  4. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the peaches, peas and pistachios. Toss with the dressing. Top with the basil and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Best served at room temperature.
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