The Height of Summer: Savory Peach Salad

We’re at the height of it: the humidity, the sweat, the garbage baking on New York’s sidewalks. Our balcony plants are hot to the touch, and nobody can bear to sit close to the grill. I blinked sometime around spring asparagus and suddenly here we are, at peaches.

I haven’t been cooking much. We had one night of excellent hamburgers outside (the trick is a mix of ground lamb and beef) and I made a quick reprise of this scallop saute with chantarelles one night when we were reviewing sparkling wine for an article (up now at Palate Press!) but honestly, there’s been a fair amount of delivery food around here. And salad.

I made this salad twice this week, in part because I wanted to perfect it before passing it along to you, and in part because it’s awesome. Take a few super-fragrant peaches, cut them up and toss with balsamic-marinated onions, creamy feta, basil, and a sprinkle of bacon. It’s summer in a bowl.

You can add arugula to make it greener, but the key is the sweet and the savory, the balance of so-juicy-they’re-gushing-down-your-face peaches and salty feta, smoky bacon, earthy onions. It’s the best of both worlds, a refreshing dinner for the height of summer. I couldn’t resist gilding the lily with some sweet-sweet fresh corn–don’t bother to cook it; this time of year you can gnaw it raw right off the cob. Go ahead, try it.

Savory Peach Salad
serves two as a main course or three as a side dish

1 small sweet onion (use your judgment, if you’re not a huge onion person, use half.)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/4 lemon
3 ears of corn, shucked
4 peaches
small bunch arugula
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
2 strips of bacon
1/2 cup cubed feta
salt and pepper

Slice the onion in quarters and cut into very delicate rings. Place in a small bowl. Add vinegars, olive oil, and lemon juice to the onion bowl, stir and let sit while you prepare the salad, stirring occasionally. Cut corn kernels off the cob into a large salad bowl. Cut peaches in one-inch squares and add to salad bowl. Wash arugula well and add, along with basil leaves. Cook bacon until crisp and crumble or dice. Add bacon and feta to the salad, then the onions and their liquid. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

In peaches, salad

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