London spring time is turning out to be such a tease. One minute we have glorious weekend sunshine, then the next day we have hailstones and the winter coats are back out. We’re back to the dull grey winter days but I’m still trying to hold onto that glimpse of summer from last weekend. This salad is my way of bringing a bit of light into my life and fresh tasty food into my belly.
We take soft,warm grilled peaches, drench them in a tangy sweet tomatoe dressing, and then toss them all together with meltinyourmouth mozzarella, crunchy cucumber and toasted bread. The perfect balance of a warm and filling winter dish but with the brightness of a spring salad.
First it’s time to pick our ingredients. Simplicity is the key here so now’s the time to splash out on some good quality cheese and tomatoes. Just look at these colours – it’s hard not to feel like spring is on it’s way when faced with this.
The key to this salad is our unusual dressing base. We extract tomato and peach juice from our blitzed mixture to give us a sweet and subtle dressing. Throw in a bit of garlic for added bight.
Once we’ve grilled and baked, cut and sliced, it’s time to assemble. Ingredients meet bowl and get a good mix. Done!
Now it’s time to bask in the sun, following it from room to room, pretending that summer might finally be on it’s way. (It’s totally not, my car said 3.5C with frost this morning sob sob)
4 tomatoes, halved
1 peach, halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed (reduce this to one if you want a more subtle hum)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 peaches, sliced into rough wedges
Large handful of baby tomatoes, halved
1 ball good quality mozzarella, ripped into small pieces
Small baguette, preferably slightly stale and ripped into pieces
Half a cucumber, cut into thick slices and then quarters
Small bunch of basil
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F) and put on ‘Sweet Disposition’ by Temper Trap. Reminds me of summer every time.
2. Rip up the baguette into small bite size pieces and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 10 minutes to let the bread dry out and crisp up. This makes it so much better for soaking up our dressing.
3. Place the tomatoes, peach and garlic in a food processor and blitz until well chopped. Spoon the mixture into a fine mesh sieve placed above a bowl. Using a spoon, press the tomato mixture through the sieve to extract all the juices. Keep going until no more juice comes out. Set the rest of the tomatoe mixture aside.
4. Whisk in the oil, vinegar and seasoning into the tomato/peach juice and this is the our dressing. Set aside.
5. Heat the griddle pan on a medium heat until hot and place on the peach wedges. Griddle until soft and slightly charred – about 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is and how ripe your peaches are.
6. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, basil and warm peach slices into the dressing and toss well to coat. Add the toasted bread into the bowl and mix again. Serve!