Ah, summertime! Among the many pleasures of the summer months is the arrival of peaches, which are just now making their debut from South Carolina. Local peaches will arrive in late July.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh peaches is to grill them and then serve them with vanilla ice cream and basil syrup. Yes, basil syrup. The flavors of sweet summer herbs like basil, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint and lavender pair beautifully with summer stone fruits.
To flavor a syrup with any fresh herb, collect a packed cup of the leaves of your herb of choice. Combine one cup of water and one cup of sugar with a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to sit one minute. Stir in the herb leaves. Allow the syrup and leaves to cool to room temperature, then puree in a blender. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve and store it covered in the refrigerator.
That's all there is to it. Serve your herb syrup with any fresh fruit or a combination.