A fruity take on the Italian classic.
In early August, I spent a week in the Mohawk Valley of New York teaching entrepreneurship to a group of middle school-aged students. Being away from home, I ate at a restaurant every night. One of those nights I was sent to Nola’s in Clinton, while using Idoolocal, a startup that I’ve coached. This new-to-me restaurant was amazing, especially as I got to sit at the chef’s bar. One of the courses was a peach caprese salad. The chef’s version was different than mine but definitely inspired this recipe.
Creating this salad was simple in some ways. I knew I wanted to incorporate peaches and mozzarella. I also knew that I wanted to make sure that there was a contrast in flavors. I still needed to figure out several other items. What herb would I use? A traditional caprese uses basil; I debated the merits of mint. Also, a traditional caprese has a drizzle of balsamic vinegar; I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted.
When I’m at a place of indecision, such as this, I envision the options in mind. I picture how the dish will look. Then I think about how the flavors will taste when combined. I don’t actually make it; I just imagine how it will be. Next, I buy ingredients to begin testing. I try the combination I’m most certain about and make a small batch. That’s when the real taste testing happens.
For this recipe I decided to play upon the natural sweetness of the peaches and increase it ever so slightly with a drizzle of honey in place of the balsamic. Then to provide a dose of savory flavor, I opted to use a chiffonade of basil. To round out all of my favorite flavor sensations, I topped the entire salad with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt.
My thought on trying this version of the recipe: YUM! I made it again a couple days later for both my hubby and me. Before even tasting it, he remarked on its beautiful presentation. When it was time for dinner, he was thoroughly delighted with this salad.
Make this now while fresh peaches are in season. Fresh peaches, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil- how can you go wrong?
- 2 peaches
- 2-4 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 4 medium-sized basil leaves
- Flaked sea salt
- Using a sharp knife, cut each peach into 16 segments, removing each carefully from pit.
- Cut mozzarella into thin strips, approximately 1-1/2″ x 1/2″.
- On individual serving plates, place a peach slice.
- Layering slightly, top with a mozzarella slice.
- Repeat until each plate has 8 peach/mozzarella layers.
- Drizzle a small amount of honey over peaches and mozzarella (about 1 teaspoon per plate).
- Slice each basil leaf in half lengthwise, then chiffonade.
- Sprinkle basil over peaches and mozzarella, dividing evenly.
- Garnish each plate with a pinch of sea salt.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or serve immediately.