It’s not often I drop the ball. But in the midst of traveling for work, countless deadlines and unexpected turbulence, I dropped a ball. Instead of providing two recipes to accompany an article I wrote for a new publication, I only managed to squeak out one before the drop-dead deadline.
The reality of not being able to do everything, all the time and for everyone hit me hard. Yes, the subject was peaches which are not quite yet in season and this also impeded my ability to perform. However, as soon as the peaches were finally ripe, I doubled down.
Perhaps I made the dish a day late, but knowing how good it turned out made me cringe that I faltered. So I am happily passing this peachy new way to use summer’s golden fruit on to you, amigos.
Peaches and Tomatoes
The original idea for the second recipe was inspired by a Panzanella salad with peaches and tomatoes. But with bathing suit weather upon us, I decided to ditch the bread. Instead, I wanted to focus solely on letting the stellar flavors of the fruits shine. And how they shine!
The bright and refreshing combination of juicy peaches and ripe, heirloom tomatoes is sensational and reminds me a lot of my initial reaction to this 2010 summer salad favorite. Similarly, this recipe is going to make you wonder what took so long for you to pair these seasonal beauties together. Adding summer’s favorite herb, basil, to the mix adds a punch of peppery flavor. And dropping in bite-sized balls of mozzarella makes this salad seem almost like a meal.
If you don’t have any sherry vinegar in your pantry, now is the time to change that. Sherry vinegar is a brilliant addition to any dish that includes raw tomatoes, especially gazpacho. The sweet and sour sherry vinegar and the olive oil mingle with the tomato and peach juices. The smell alone will have you fighting over who is going to drink the vinegary juices once the salad disappears.
Good News and Bad News
The good news is this seasonal summer salad is a spectacular side dish. It requires 5 ingredients and comes together in about 5 minutes flat. Seriously loved this part.
The bad news is it’s going to be a challenge to eat this salad often enough while peaches are at their peak. This salad was all I made for lunch one day and David and I ate the whole thing. We each had two servings and, while we were eating, started talking about how adding boiled or grilled shrimp would transform this salad into a legitimate summer meal. Or use crumbled feta or goat cheese for the mozzarella balls as another way to switch things up.
Creativity in the kitchen comes into play when you love a dish so much you think of several variations of it so you can repeat it but without getting bored. This salad has both versatility and that craveable factor which makes it another solid recipe. If your summer mantra is to spend less time in the kitchen and more time having fun, simply add this recipe into the rotation and everyone will be peachy keen.
Peach and Tomato Salad with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella
Sweet and tangy and overflowing with flavor, this salad exemplifies summer. Using the best vine-ripened peaches and heirloom tomatoes you can find makes this dish a stand-out. Basil and mozzarella make it sing. And the sherry vinegar takes it over the top. The fact that it only takes 5 minutes to prepare, means no one slaves in the kitchen in order to put an incredible meal on the table. Add boiled or grilled shrimp and this salad becomes a simple but solid dinner on a hot summer night.
- 2 organic, vine-ripened peaches sliced
- 1-2 heirloom tomatoes depending on their size, sliced and cut into bite-sized chunks, reserving the juice
- 4 oz. small mozzarella balls
- 12-15 leaves basil chiffonade the leaves
- 1-2 shallots depending on their size, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the peaches and tomatoes and dry them.
Cut the tomatoes in half, then in slices and then into chunks. Arrange on a platter as haphazardly as you desire, and then pour any juice over the tomatoes.
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Slice the peaches and arrange around and over the tomatoes on the platter.
Drain the mozzarella balls and drop over the top of the peaches and tomatoes, letting them fall where they may.
Layer the basil leaves on top of one another and wrap them up like a cigar to chiffonade them. Sprinkle the basil leaves over the peaches, tomatoes and cheese.
Slice a big shallot thinly or 2 smaller ones and separate the rings as you scatter them over the salad.
In a small bowl, add the sherry vinegar and whisk in the olive oil until it's blended.
Methodically pour the vinaigrette over the peaches, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and shallots.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper over everything and serve immediately.