It's summer in Northern California and that means it's also stone fruit season at the farmers market (and countless roadside fruit stands)! Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and my personal favorite, pluots (a cross between plums and apricots).
Peaches are synonymous with summer and as you can tell from my previous post about Whitey’s Jolly Cone peach milkshakes in West Sacramento, I am a big fan of using peaches in less than traditional ways.
One of my favorite ways to use peaches is in a summer salad. Crunchy salty creamy me the spicy sweet. This summer peach salad hits all of the flavor notes and is incredibly simple to prepare.
I drew inspiration for this salad from one of my favorite meals ever. Now it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had in my life but it was one of the most special. And yes the food was pretty amazing too.
Mike and I had been dating for six years -- we started dating at the tail end of high school and all through our undergraduate years at UC Davis. We had moved to San Francisco for his first job and so I could attend law school. During the fall of my 2L year, Mike planned a long weekend away in Paso Robles for one of our favorite past times, eating and wine tasting.
Now I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed for having to miss one of my favorite weekends in San Francisco, Fleet Week, in order to go on this weekend away. Although we were “fortunate” enough to hear and see the Blue Angels fly over our law library during the mid-week practice runs, so it’s not like I missed the air show completely. Did I mention how LOUD it gets in San Francisco during Fleet Week practices with the Blue Angels literally flying next to the buildings?!
We set off on the 3 hour drive from San Francisco to Paso Robles, and I'm pretty sure I spent a good chunk of it trying to read case law while not getting too car-sick (I'm really terrible at reading in the car).
We arrived at the cutest little hotel in Paso Robles called Hotel Cheval. It's a boutique 16-room hotel in the heart of downtown Paso Robles, and each room is named after a historically significant horse! Cozy, with a touch of Mediterranean, Hotel Cheval was the perfect county weekend respite from our crazy City schedules.
And I'm sure glad I was able to break away from Fleet Week and my law school studies, because when I turned around, Mike was down on one knee with a ring box open to gorgeous diamond solitaire! The rest of the weekend was a blur of calling our families, wine tasting all over Paso Robles, and picnics at wineries.
That night we went to Artisan for dinner to celebrate our engagement. We started off with cheese fondue served with garlic toast, broccolini, and andouille sausage. It's their signature appetizer and something we always order when we return.
We also had a peach and burrata salad. There's nothing quite as enjoyable in life as burrata cheese, a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. Paired with sweet peaches, salty prosciutto and crunchy almonds, it can't be beat.
That was one of my favorite salads I've ever eaten. And not just because it was one of the best weekends with my best friend.
I look forward to recreating this summery peach salad every year. Partly to reminisce about that weekend, and definitely because of the flavor combinations in this simple peach salad.
Pro tip: make sure your peach is ripe -- sweet and soft. Taste a sliver of the peach before cutting the whole thing up on the salad. There's nothing quite as disappointing as a non-ripe peach.
Peach and Burrata Salad
Inspired by a salad from Artisan, Paso Robles
- Ripe summer peaches, sliced
- Burrata cheese, sliced or pinched into bite-sized pieces
- Proscuitto, sliced or torn into bite-sized pieces
- Roasted and/or sliced almonds
- Olive oil
- Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
- Sea salt and pepper
This is a really simple salad to put together. Just place the arugula in a large bowl, add the almonds, and prosciutto. Toss with champagne vinegar or lemon juice, then drizzle over olive oil (tip: always put your acid on first otherwise the oil will just repel it). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with burrata cheese. Enjoy the taste of summer in salad form!