Oh, happy day: Peaches have arrived at the local farmers market.
Clingstones are the first to harvest; this varietal boasts a sweet, juicy, yellow flesh with increasing swaths of red as you near the pit. Clingstones, as the name suggests, have flesh that sticks to the pit; they are a tad more difficult to eat and cut, but they are considered tastier than their freestone cousins.
Freestones, which we will see in the coming weeks, have flesh that resembles the clingstones, but it separates easily from the pit. They tend to be a bit larger in size, firmer in texture and slightly less sweet and juicy.
Naturally, when I saw peaches at the market last week I went nuts, buying far more than my family would eat in a week. So I had to improvise. After we had consumed our fill of the glorious orbs as snacks, on cereal with breakfast and in yogurt topped with granola, I still had a few left.
I love fruit in green salads; the sweet paired with the savory is interesting, delicious and sort of unexpected. The last peaches were a perfect addition to our dinner salad, which nicely complemented some simply grilled fish.
Note, I used freshly grated Parmesan cheese in the salad, but any salty, briny cheese would work — pecorino, Romano, feta, ricotta salata and so on. Or if you want a pareve dish, swap the cheese for salted nuts. If you don’t have butter lettuce, use any salad green that you have handy.
A Peach of a Salad
Serves two to four
For the salad:
1 or 2 ripe peaches, cut in small chunks, with juice
1 large head butter lettuce, rinsed and torn
½ cup pitted, oil cured black olives
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
Place the lettuce in a salad bowl. Top it with peaches and their juice.
Squeeze ½ lemon over the peaches to prevent browning.
Top with the remaining salad ingredients.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl; whisk until blended. Toss into the salad and serve immediately.