Here’s what I love about putting fruit in a salad, you get to put fruit in a salad – genius. Not my genius, but rather all of you out there who know better and have been raspberry dressing us for years. The truth is that the balance of flavors is near utopian and almost a crime of riches with sweet fruity fleshes, bitter lettuces and vegetables combined with savory cheese and coarse salts – stop before my mouth explodes.
Another genius is Mario Batali. I ache for that Molto Mario show because Mario is one of the few master chefs who is also a master host and lecturer. Remember how he could rattle off a lesson about the proper aging of parmesan reggiano while thumbing garlic gnocchi off a butter knife. His slight, albeit deserving, attitude of superiority used to intimidate me. Even from the safety of my living room sofa, where even though I knew he couldn’t see or judge me, I felt shame for not knowing the difference between a brodetto and a zuppetta. I miss that angst and the orange crocs.
So Mario has given Los Angeles a mere sample of his deliciousness in his very popular restaurants Pizzaria Mozza and Osteria Mozza that he owns with local food hero Nancy Silverton.I’m getting to the peaches, I promise. It’s kind of impossible to get a reservation at these restaurants especially when you don’t plan ahead like us. So Dan and I like to show up reservationless a la Date Night and worm our way into bar dining which, between these two restaurants, are three full-service bar dining options, because Mario also established a Mozzarella Bar within Osteria – genius. We were lucky the other night and scored a seat at the m bar where we watched young waifs in country head scarves fondle burrata and hand toss salads with the same fluid wrist curls that Mario used to turn out a pasta dough. They made us a beautiful peach salad that left an indelible memory and I just had to have it again. Peaches are low calorie and a good source of potassium, v’s A & C and they make this salad taste like dessert. I found a few sources online and then crafted this simple and easy preparation.
Slice the peaches over torn lettuce. I used this red leafy lettuce that I had on hand. Please use what you have in the refrigerator; it will all taste great. I grated some Pecorino cheese over the salad as my savory addition; again use what you have in the salty, nutty family – like a parmesan. Add a vinaigrette to round out the flavors.
summer peach salad, before summer ends
1 chopped shallot
3 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey or agave syrup
1 t. coarse salt
1/3 c olive oil
Whisk the first four ingredients together and then slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing. Pour enough dressing over to lightly coat the salad, add freshly ground pepper and serve.
Cook’s options: Use onion instead of shallot, any light vinegar will do, adjust salt and pepper to your liking, add sliced, seeded cucumber to the salad to boost up the veggie quotient.