Traditionalists be warned: we are straying far from course with this recipe.
This summery recipe offers a peachy twist on an Italian favorite, peach caprese salad is an easy no-cook side dish you are sure to revisit again and again.
- Peach caprese is a quick salad or easy appetizer using fresh peaches
- Low calories, gluten free and a good source of protein
- No-cook side dish for summer parties and barbecues
I am a big fan of recipes that come together quickly, and the healthier the better. I especially love recipes so simple they hardly feel like a recipe at all. The truth is, this summery peach caprese salad started as a desperate move to get some fresh fruits and vegetables on our plates. Happily, the resulting combination proved so wonderfully refreshing I fine tuned the ingredients and created an easy recipe we will return to again and again.
A few weeks ago I took my boys on a quick getaway to visit their cousins in Eastern Washington. Not far from my sister's house is a u-pick orchard with acres of peach and apple trees. At harvest time, the trees sag from the weight of their bountiful fruits. A couple years back we u-picked it took less than 5 minutes to pick more softball sized peaches than we could carry. All the way home the heady perfume of sun soaked peaches filled our little SUV. It really doesn't get much more summery than the sultry sweet aroma of fresh peaches.
Throughout our stay I hoped for an opportunity to return to the orchard and pick from the new crop of perfectly ripe peaches. Unfortunately, we were a few weeks early for those trees so we returned home without a box of peaches.
Driving home on Sunday took two hours longer than expected. Fortunately, Mike had taken charge of dinner. Motivated to try our new Instant Pot (it is A-MAZ-ING!) Mike prepared a batch of Korean inspired braised short ribs. When we finally pulled into the driveway we were hot, tired and beyond hungry. Delightfully, he had the food hot and ready to serve his road-weary family.
My nose led me straight to the kitchen where, he proudly presented a plate of aromatic beef tantalizingly close to falling from the bone. Grateful for the immediate service, I interrupted his enthusiastic review of the Instant Pot to ask about vegetables. Puzzled, he pointed out a container of kimchi (Korean style pickled cabbage and vegetables) followed by a shrug, "do we have anything else?”
As tempting as the ribs were, a weekend of a few too many indulgences meant my body's need for fresh fruits and vegetables far surpassed my desire to devour the fragrant beef.
A look in the refrigerator answered both our questions, yes, we had vegetables, and to my delight a pair of perfectly ripe peaches. With a bit of finesse and less than five minutes (I was highly motivated to begin dinner) I transformed a container of baby arugula, the peaches, and a handful of pistachios into the restorative salad I was craving.
The lively combination of sweet peaches and peppery arugula temporarily fulfilled my craving for the summery fruit. I returned to the ingredients a number of times the following week. Finally, during a sneaky mid-week lunch date with my husband, I was inspired to turn the ingredients into a simple layered caprese salad.
Inspired by the old world favorite whose bright colors mimic those of the Italian flag, I replaced caprese's classic tomato slices with golden peaches, alternating one slice of soft fresh mozzarella for every few slices of peach. Crushed pistachios offer a crunchy contrast to the salad's otherwise soft texture. The result is a celebratory blend of time honored Italian appetizer and emblematic American ingredients you will eagerly revisit all summer long.
Peach Caprese Salad
- 2 medium peaches sliced into 32 crescents each
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella 16 slices
- ¼ cup fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons
- 2 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon pistachio nuts shells removed & nuts crushed
- Optional: 4 cups of baby arugula
- On a plate or a tray: arrange the slices of peach and mozzarella so they are slightly overlapping. Scatter over the basil, then drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Finish with salt, pepper, and crushed pistachios. Serve as is or over a bed of baby arugula.