Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cucumber Peach Summer Salad

It started with a peach. A perfectly ripe, fragrant peach that I was about to bite into, anticipating the juices running down my chin.

Actually, no. Let me start over. It started with a hot and humid afternoon--so humid that there was a freak five-minute downpour in my neighborhood, with thick raindrops striking the pavement and surprising neighbors outside my window walking their dogs and babies.

There was no way I could cook anything for dinner. So as I lifted that rosy peach to my mouth I thought the better of it, set it down on the counter, and contemplated what I could do to turn it into the star of a cold meal.

Slicing it into a salad of greens would be easy, but--eh. I wanted it to be the salad--a composed salad.

I pulled out an English cucumber. Not a natural peach partner, but why not? Nothing says chill like a cucumber. It got thinly sliced and laid out onto a rectangular plate. I sliced a red onion and placed those on top.

Then came slices of peaches. Now, on a different day with different weather, I would have grilled the peach--but that was not the point of this particular meal.

Next up were pecans. Pecans are lovely paired with peaches and Trader Joe's sells these marvelous roasted and salted bags I keep in the freezer. I pulled that out and shook out about a quarter cup, which I then roughly chopped.

I have basil growing on my kitchen windowsill so I cut off a half dozen large leaves and did a chiffonade on them.

That was it. If I had had a ball of fresh mozzarella or burrata I would have added slices of cheese.

Next was how to dress the salad. I combed through my pantry and pulled out a bottle of thick, sweet violet balsamic vinegar from Baker & Olive and my favorite McEvoy olive oil. I mixed up a couple of tablespoons and drizzled the mixture over the salad before digging in. Simple, easy, no sweat--and delicious.

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