We’re well into summer now, and that means that the farmer’s markets are in full, delicious bloom! Here in NYC, we are blessed with a wealth of farmer’s markets, and you can find a handful throughout the city on every day of the week. My local market – about 10 blocks from my apartment, right outside Columbia University – pops up every Thursday and Sunday, and I love it dearly. I’ve watched it grow from a tiny 4-stand affair when I first arrived in the city 10 years ago, to a bustling 15+ producer market with everything from artisanal yogurt to lavender to compost collection. I schlep my compostables there every Thursday and do my shopping for the week… and sometimes I even make a return visit on Sunday.
Every once in a while, I treat myself to a visit to the mecca of farmer’s markets in NYC – the world-famous Union Square Market, which takes places 4 times a week. Some of the best chefs in the city go there for their produce, and it’s no wonder, with over 140 producers there in peak season. Whenever I go, I wander around, totally blissed out, and always leave with way more fruits and veggies than I ever intended to buy. This week, I couldn’t resist the tomatoes and peaches, which are just now coming into season. I have been waiting for almost a year to have one of my favorite salads, and it seems fitting to make this the final recipe for No-Cook July: Tomato and Peach Salad with Basil and Feta.
I’ve been waiting almost a whole year because it’s no use having this salad out of season – please don’t try it in December, it will be gross. I can’t even really explain why this salad is so yummy. I think the sherry vinegar is key – really, truly, do not skip it (although balsamic would probably also be delicious). And the basil… and the feta… the bite of the red onion… and of course the true ecstasy of biting into a perfectly ripe peach or tomato. This salad is summer in a bowl, and is perfect for a summer party, as it only takes about 5 minutes to throw together.
Summer in a bowl: Farm Fresh Tomato and Peach Salad with Basil and Feta
Adapted hardly at all from Cooking Light
Time: 5 minutes Serves 4 (1 cup servings)
75 calories; 3.5 g fat; 2g protein; 10g carbs
- 1 T sherry vinegar (or really good balsamic)
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
- 1/2 pound ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges (skin-on or skin-off, as you prefer)
- 1/2 pound of the best tomatoes you can find, but into wedges or bite-size pieces, depending on the tomato
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese (an aged provolone, ricotta salata, or even crumbled blue cheese could be interesting as well)
- thinly sliced basil – as much as you want
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Whisk well and set aside.
Combine onion, peaches, and tomato in a bowl.
Toss with dressing.
Sprinkle with feta and basil, and serve immediately, perhaps with some crusty bread. This salad is also delicious when tossed on a pita or pre-made pizza crust and toasted in the toaster oven – you can even sub in mozzarella for the cheese to make a pizza of sorts.
The salad does not keep well – the peaches and tomatoes quickly lose their juices and it becomes soggy. But when you have it fresh – perfection! (Just imagine me making the classic Italian gesture of kissing my fingers and throwing my hand into the air.)
A note on the beautiful bowl in this photo
Did you notice the gorgeous pottery I’m serving my salad in? It just so happens it is hand-crafted by one of my dear friends, Patti Goldstein of New Martinsville WV. If you are interested in her work, drop me a line or a comment and I’ll connect you!