Seriously Simple: Don’t let summer pass you by without making this refreshing entree

Seriously Simple: Don’t Let Summer Pass You By Without Making This Refreshing Entree
Diane Rossen Worthington/TNS

In the height of peach season, this dish is a hit.

I’ve been using buttermilk a lot these days. In a brine, in a cold soup and in my fresh herb “ranch” dressing. I also find using buttermilk as a marinade for chicken yields a juicy result. It both tenderizes the meat and, as the chicken cooks, the buttermilk sugars help develop a crispy, slightly caramelized skin.

The first time I made this, I barbecued the chicken. They had a slightly smoky, sweet flavor enhanced by the fresh herbs. The next time I cooked them, I roasted them in the oven because it was 103 degrees outside, so it was too hot to grill. If you find yourself unable to use a barbecue, you’ll be happy to know that the chicken, roasted at 425 F, is every bit as good as the barbecued version, minus the smoky accent.

It’s the height of peach season right now, so the marinade includes buttermilk and pureed peaches along with chopped fresh thyme and mint leaves. I like to marinate the chicken in the morning and cook it that night. Be sure to select ripe medium white or yellow peaches that are juicy and sweet.

To complete the dish, I like to complement the chicken with a fresh Seriously Simple relish of diced peaches, some of the buttermilk brine and fresh mint along with a side of asparagus. It really is a delightful combination of flavors.

Note: I happen to love chicken breasts, but you can, of course, make this dish with a whole chicken or chicken thighs.

Buttermilk Peach Chicken with Peach-Mint Relish

Serves 6

  • 6 chicken breasts, skin and bone attached, about 1/2 to 2/3 pound each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large peach or 2 medium peaches, pit removed and cut into large dice
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt

For the relish:

  • 1 large peach or 2 medium peaches, pits removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:

  • Fresh mint and thyme leaves, if desired

1. Arrange the chicken breasts in a large shallow dish that is large enough to fit them all. I use a 9-by-13-inch glass dish. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Puree the peaches in a food processor. Pour the peach puree into a medium bowl and add the buttermilk, mint, thyme and seasoning salt. Stir to combine and reserve 3/4 cup of the marinade into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces and using tongs, turn the chicken pieces to evenly coat. Marinate the chicken up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

3. While the chicken is marinating, combine the relish ingredients into a medium bowl and taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

4. When ready to grill, prepare the grill for medium high heat grilling. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Grill the chicken, about 6 to 8 minutes per side or until they have grill marks, the chicken has no pinkness in the interior and the juices run clear.

5. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, covered loosely with aluminum foil, before serving. Serve on a platter or individual plates garnished with fresh herbs. Serve the relish on the side.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at