In a few days, my sister will be coming to visit us from Boston. Whenever she comes our itinerary is more than likely to involve at least one food-related activity each day so it’s not a surprise that we’ve been discussing what we are going to eat when she visits for over a month now. A few weeks ago she sent me this text…
“Do you think peaches will be in season when I’m down there?? I want peaches. Not from California.”
If feels as though every summer it is our goal to scout out some local, fresh-from-the-farm peaches but, 9 times out of 10, they fall flat.
I have a scattered collection of very distant memories from childhood involving peaches. We used to get peaches from old Mr. Washington’s orchard and although I can barely remember what it looked like, or what Mr. Washington was like, I do remember those peaches. They were the kinds that are impossible to eat with any dignity. The kinds that leave a running steam of sticky juice all the way from the hand to the elbow. They were ripe to the point of creaminess with the smell of pure nectar and impossibly sweet. Perhaps my fogged recollections have left the peaches substantially more impressive in my mind than they may have been in reality yet, to this day, I do not recall a time I’ve ever had peaches as good as those.
With our track record, I have doubts that this year will become the year that we find spectacular peaches but perhaps, with a bit of luck, we’ll find some that will at least partially fill that void. Just last week I had some decent ones from the farmers market. They were clingstone peaches and a bit of a pain to slice and could have been a little sweeter but were certainly still nice to have around.
I turned to Nigel Slater’s Ripe for peach inspiration and, as I suspected the recipes are all simple, letting the peach really shine. I went with an easy salad of peaches, mozzarella and prosciutto with a sprinkling of greens and a creamy vinaigrette. It’s light and refreshing, great for those blistering hot days where you can only muster enough energy to pile a few things onto a plate and call it a day. It has that sweet and savory thing going on, all kind of offset by the spicy arugula. I know that the prosciutto and fruit combo is old news but when you’re dealing with something that can be so incredibly wonderful as a peach, the simple and the tried and true can be some of the best.
Peach and Mozzarella Salad
Adapted very slightly from Nigel Slater’s Ripe
4 ripe peaches
16 thin slices of prosciutto
2 mozzarella balls
4 handfuls of arugula
For The Dressing
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. full fat greek yogurt
a dab of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Place a handful of arugula on the center of each plate. Slice the peach into 8 pieces and scatter them overtop. Divide the mozzarella evenly over each salad, tearing it into bite-sized portions. Finally tear the prosciutto into pieces and arrange on the top of the salad. Top with a few basil leaves, if desired.
Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, oil, yogurt, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle overtop the salad. Enjoy with chilled white wine.