August is peach season in these parts, but sadly, our peach trees this year just weren’t in the mood. It wasn’t actually their fault. It seems that one of them was hit with some fungus or blight or some disfiguring malady, and the other tree got as far as producing a bazillion peaches, then in mid-ripening, just lost interest. Yeah, like I said, just not in the mood.
So we are buying our peaches, which isn’t all that terrible really, as long as we keep our taste buds from remembering last year’s sweet, juicy crop. But whether you grow your own or buy them at a farmer’s market or the grocery store, you really must make this luscious little caprese salad.
By now most of us have made, tasted or seen the traditional caprese salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, which, in my world, totally rocks the flavors of summer. But switching out the tomatoes for peaches and adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar just might be my new favorite summertime caprese experience.
If pairing sliced peaches with mozzarella cheese seems a bit challenging conceptually, I must tell you that they were truly made for each other. The sweet/tart juiciness of the peaches melds ever so beautifully with the creamy mozzarella cheese as though caprese salads should have always been thus.
Now I’m sure that you guys are all much smarter and more creative than myself and could probably come up with a host of different ways to use this beautiful salad (with pasta? On a pizza?), but I mostly just want to scoop it up onto a warm slice of toasted bread that’s been drizzled with olive oil and salt. That's enough deliciousness for me. Here’s the recipe…
PEACH CAPRESE SALAD
Recipe adapted from Simi Chardonnay chef Kolin Vazzoler
1 cup bocconcini (mini fresh mozzarella balls), sliced in half
2 cups sliced ripe peaches, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
a handful of basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse salt
fresh cracked black pepper
Combine the bocconcini, sliced peaches and chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with the pepper and sea salt. Serve with fresh bread that's been toasted or grilled and drizzled with a little olive oil and sea salt.