In one of my favorite exchanges in that masterpiece of contemporary cinema, I Love You, Man, Sydney Fife says to Peter Klaven, “Your best night in five years is watching Chocolate [sic] with Johnny Depp? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
To which Peter replies: “With the combination of wine and summer salad and Chocolat, yeah!”
Sydney: “You should be embarrassed.”
I’m pretty sure that Sydney wouldn’t approve of my summer salad either, since it involves peaches and arugula; but it’s flavorful enough that the Peter Klavens of the world can enjoy it without embarrassment (wine is optional, but skip the Depp).
- Four ripe white peaches, peeled and sliced
- Half a Vidalia (or Walla Walla sweet) onion, chopped
- One jalapeño, cut into cross sections
- Juice from three limes (or two lemons)
- A quarter cup of rice vinegar
- A bunch of arugula (if you don’t like it, use lettuce, but try adding a little chopped endive or radicchio to provide a bitter counterpoint)
- A cup or so of cherry tomatoes
For the dressing
- A thumb-sized chunk of peeled ginger
- Two whole garlic cloves, peeled
- An eighth of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
- A spoonful of whole peppercorns
- Sea salt
- A little honey, to taste
Here’s what I did
This requires a little more forethought than most of the food I make, but no more effort. Put the peaches, onion and jalapeño in a glass bowl; cover with the citrus and vinegar and mix it up with your hands. (My jalapeño was tragically absent of spice, so I added a tablespoon of red pepper flakes too.) Taste a peach slice; if it’s tart, put a few teaspoons of sugar or brown sugar in the mixture. Stick it in the fridge for several hours. If you think about it, mix it up a few times during the marination process.
Right before serving, put the arugula and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Pour half a cup of the marinating liquid in a blender or food processor and drain the rest down the sink. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the blender and puree. Taste and adjust. If it’s too citrus-y, add some honey, salt and a little more oil. Judiciously pour the dressing over the arugula and tomatoes and mix it up. You don’t want it soggy. Top with the marinated peach-onion-jalapeño mixture and fresh pepper.