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I have been enjoying a tomato salad almost every day this month; It's easy to eat when the tomatoes are ripening on the vine in my backyard and the garden is full of two foot tall herbs.
Tomatoes are often paired with salty olives and salty feta cheese in an easy Greek salad and other times I cut them for a Kale Tabbouleh with cucumber, mint and garlic. Another favorite, and a real treat for the crowd, is my Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad, which combines tomatoes, celery, and shrimp in a spicy dish perfect for a quick Sunday lunch.
A recent creation that turned out to be the most delicious was the addition of fresh sliced Niagara peaches to a Caprese salad. I served this riff in a classic at the start of the harvest dinner we hosted on the farm a few weekends ago, and promised him the recipe. It is a salad that I serve at every harvest dinner, mainly because it is very delicious when it is prepared in season, but also because it is very easy.
A Caprese salad is such a simple dish: perfectly ripe tomatoes, good quality olive oil, fresh mozzarella, and basil. If you've never done a Caprese before, then this article by J. Kenji Lopes-Alt on Serious Eats is. Makes many great points. (Warning: language)
So no, there is no need to improve the Caprese, but I can't help beautifying it a little with those seasonal fruits that are so beautiful in August. Peaches and blueberries call me from market stalls, and I love bringing them home and incorporating them into savory dishes and desserts.
This salad, with cherry tomatoes, ripe peaches, and lots of fresh, fragrant thyme, is one of those August meals.. Feel free to customize it to your liking or use what will be planted in your garden. My basil rushes skyward, ready to turn into pesto or another Caprese salad.
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The food stylist in me almost did not share the photo above because it is not quite perfect: the candle must be lit, the glasses filled to the brim with beer … But it shows the excellent quality of this Caprese salad.
In fact, I recommend that you make the dish about twenty minutes before dinner, then let it sit at room temperature so that the flavors mix. And mixed they will. That will give you time to cut the bread, light the candles and serve drinks …
Peach Tomato Caprese with Blueberries
A simple, seasonal salad that can be prepared ahead of time and is easy to scale for a crowd. Swap the thyme for basil, if you like, and feel free to use any tomatoes you have on hand.
Essential Ingredient: Tomato
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
- 2 tablespoons packed fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes of all colors
- 2 medium firm and ripe peaches
- 250 g of fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella
- 1 handful of wild blueberries optional
In a small mortar and pestle, grind the thyme and salt into a dark green paste. Add garlic and spray again until smooth. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil and mix to combine. Finish the dressing by sprinkling with the black pepper.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the peaches into 1/2 moon pieces. Mix tomatoes and peaches with 2 tablespoons of dressing in medium bowl. Arrange the fruits on a large rimmed plate.
Separate the fresh mozzarella into eight to ten pieces and place it on and around the tomatoes. Sprinkle a handful of wild blueberries on top.
Sprinkle the salad with the remaining dressing and top with more fresh thyme leaves, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
All images by Tim Chin.