I had a number of good names for this salad. Farmers Market Feast! Summer AF Salad, Fresh Fetish, GET IN MY MOUTH, just to name a few. It’s sunshine and all that is good about summer on a plate and I can’t believe you are still reading this just get to the recipe already.
Last weekend we went up to Michigan to do a little camping, a little beaching, and a little cooking. Being the overachiever that I am, I planned our Saturday night meal to be a true camping feast. No “Pinterest camping hacks!” for us, no…we would go full GLAMP. We had locally made Linguiça sausage nestled on a bed of sliced onions cooking on a cast iron pan plopped right onto the hot coals. We had fresh beers from a local brewery, we had grilled slices of semolina bread, and most importantly–we had farm stand peaches, corn, and tomatoes, with a blob of burrata cheese torn over the top. We had a damn FEAST. Something about cooking straight on the coals (and having it actually work!) was really exciting and all the flavors were so simpatico. Some real camping synergy going on. Not sure if it was the humidity-free air blowing off of Lake Michigan (a godsend in and of itself), or just being away from your house and all the to-do’s and having only a tent and your friends and a few dishes to deal with….but in between bites and sighs we just all kept looking up and saying to each other, ‘this is really good!”
I feel like the star of the meal had to be the salad. It sort of came to me like a vision while camping so the first thing I did when we got back was replicate it and document it right here for future summers. Super simple, super flavorful, and an awesome accompaniment to almost any grilled meat. It’s the kind of thing you can go to the farmers market on Saturday morning and get every single ingredient there, and make a hell of a lunch when you get home with your bounty. Bring it to a pitch-in, eat it for lunch with your family, hell–make it for your boss! It’s fresh, it’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s what you’ll dream about in the depths of February when fresh off the vine peaches are months away. It’s a summer salad!
2 ripe peaches
6 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ears of corn, husks removed
1 ball of fresh mozzarella or burrata
3/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
kosher salt and black pepper
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra for seasoning
2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Loaf of delicious bread of your choosing (I used semolina in the first version of this salad, and this time used a multigrain sourdough. Both delicious!)
Adjust oven racks to middle and highest positions, and heat broiler to high. Take husked corn cobs and roll in a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on sheet tray and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place on middle oven rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove foil and place sheet pan on highest rack closest to heating elements. Broil for 5 minute increments, turning to evenly roast each side. Broil until corn plumps, looks awesome, and starts to brown slightly- 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside to cool.
Peel peaches carefully using a paring knife or a y-shaped vegetable peeler. cut around the pit and chop into 1 inch chunks. The goal here is to make the tomato pieces and the peach pieces about the same size. Set aside. You could also sub delicious ripe nectarines for this and skip the peeling step.
In a large bowl, add sherry vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until emulsified and combined. Taste test for seasoning and add more salt if you think it needs a little more pizazz!
Add the tomatoes and peaches to the vinaigrette and carefully coat with a spoon to coat evenly. Set aside. Placing an upside down ramekin in another bowl/pie plate, stand the corn on top and carefully remove the kernels from the corn cob with a sharp knife. Add shucked corn to bowl with dressing and fruit.
Stack half of the basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a tiny cigar. Take a sharp knife and cut crosswise to chiffonade the basil into thin strips. Scatter over the corn, tomatoes and peaches and carefully stir to coat and distribute.
MEANWHILE, heat a grill pan (or a real grill if you are making this as a side dish to grilled things) to medium high, and slice your bread into 3/4 inch slices. Brush each side with extra virgin olive oil and give it a sprinkle of salt. Carefully grill your bread (being sure not to walk away and forget about it and come back 6 minutes too late to a smoky kitchen and burnt goods!) a little on each side to get some char marks and color.
To Plate: Take a large spider or slotted spoon and transfer the salad to a large serving plate (You don’t want to serve it in the bowl, because you end up with a puddle of dressing at the bottom and nobody has time for that). Arrange grilled bread around and tear mozzarella or burrata evenly around the plate. Garnish with a couple of whole basil leaves and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Eat. Cry because it’s so good. Eat some more!
note: This salad can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. It tastes best when close to room temperature so remove from fridge 20ish minutes before serving.