Almost everything you need for this salad can be purchased at your local farmers’ market at the height of summer: sweet peaches, creamy goat cheese, and aromatic basil the key components! Enjoy the season while it lasts!
Summertime, and the peaches are easy. Well, easy to come by! Thank goodness.
This salad couldn’t be simpler, and can be easily assembled almost entirely using ingredients you can find at your local farmers’ market. I bought everything except the pistachios, goat cheese, olive oil, and vinegar at mine—though you might be lucky enough to find everything at yours!
As with almost anything else that showcases local and seasonal vegetables, you don’t have to do a whole lot to make things taste delicious. The less, the better.
SHOP FOR INGREDIENTS AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET!
You could very well use spinach or another green, but I wanted to steer clear of arugula in the dead heat of the summer because the flavor tends to sharpen and become more peppery and bitter. Arugula really has less of a bite in spring and early fall.
But a sweet baby spinach or even sorrel, if you can find it, would be great—the latter would lend some lemony brightness to the flavors. I used a spring mix from one of my favorite farmers for this recipe.
I also selected a yellow tomato to contrast the peaches and because they are less acidic than red ones, but an orange one would work well, too.
USE GOOD-QUALITY VINEGAR AND OLIVE OIL
I have a multi-tier approach to using olive oils. I have a good quality extra virgin olive oil that I use for drizzling over pasta and using in some other applications. But I save the really good stuff for salads, and in the summer, it’s not unusual for me to go through several bottles of extra virgin olive oil.
I also like to put really good quality vinegars, ones that come from specialty shops that know what they’re doing, to use in salads. They just add an extra dimension of flavor; good vinegar will make this taste more like a carefully composed restaurant quality salad and elevate it from the everyday.
In this case, I used a champagne vinegar, which is a little sweet, but if you don’t have it, don’t let it stop you from making this salad. Just substitute white wine vinegar.
THIS SALAD IS BEST THE DAY ITS MADE
As with any salad, this is best the day it is made. It can generously serve four to six people as a side.
If you do end up with leftovers, wrap the salad loosely and refrigerate it, and eat it within 24 hours before the leaves become brown and soggy.
If you want turn this into a dinner salad and make it more substantive, I suggest topping it with grilled chicken or shrimp; the latter would lend a bit of charred sweetness to the salad.
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