Peach Panzanella Salad
As much as I'm looking forward to wrapping myself in a cozy scarf come fall, I can't easily part with summer's produce. The stone fruits are irresistible and I find myself most often enjoying them raw, in their most elemental form, sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor.
Many times I'll have grand plans for the bounty I return with from the market, but somehow they don't last long enough to be transformed with an interesting recipe. After camp snack, breakfast treat, and dessert are ways we enjoy them unadulterated.
Today I was more mindful. I reserved a few peaches for a panzanella salad I've been wanting to make and in good taste. It turned to be everything I'd hope for: fresh, simple, flavorful. The sweet peach contrasts perfectly against the juicy tomatoes and sharp balsamic. Also the bread cubes add a lovely crunch and handsome bite against the soft mozzarella bits. I pan grilled the peaches to bring out most of their natural sweetness and add depth in flavor. The rest of the salad came together effortlessly and proved to be everything that is delicious and luscious in a summer salad.
Peach Panzanella Salad
2-3 slices of bread*
2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 Natural and Kosher Cheese fresh mozzarella
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
If using fresh bread, brush each side with olive oil and toast for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and grill the peaches face down until they let out some juices and are slightly charred, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until comfortable to handle. Slice into 4 parts and cut across each peach half.
In a wide bowl, combine the peaches, cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley and bread cubes. With your hands tear pieces of mozzarella and scatter around. Season everything generously with salt and pepper. Pour a generous glug of olive oil and the balsamic. Give everything an informal toss with a spoon and serve.
*Panzanella is best served with day old rustic bread that's soaked in olive oil. If you have that around, even better, otherwise toast makes a nice alternative.