Today I am sharing with you my favorite summer salad! What makes this salad special is the unique combination of peaches (or nectarines), parmigiano reggiano and balsamic vinegar. This salad is pretty, delicious, refreshing, and real quick to put together. It goes really well with grilled seafood, poultry, meats and grilled … anything!
OK let’s get on with the recipe!
No quantities are listed as you can make a salad for one or 50.
. a chunk of aged Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese: the older the better: Ideally between 30 and 36 months which has a nutty undertones vs caramel undertones of the mild 12 month old Parmigiano. We are looking for contrast between the peach and cheese, this is why an older cheese is preferred
. 1 Ripe peach or nectarine (every 4 servings) : ripe means that its juicy and sweet, it might still have some tangy notes in there
. lettuce : The lettuce’s mild flavor is important to help balance all these sweet, tangy and savoury flavours. So choose greens that are mild flavoured such as butter, round, red leaf, oak leaf and Boston Bibb lettuces. Remember that the flavor needs to be mild.
Therefore, avoid greens that will compete with the flavours just mentioned. So a big NO goes to kale, arugula, cress, radicchio, iceberg, cabbage, spinach, as these lovely but strong tasting greens would mask the the flavor of the Parmigiano & Balsamic vinegar
. Salt & freshly grated pepper
. Balsamic vinegar from Modena. Not all Balsamic Vinegars are worthy of that name. There is PDO Balsamic Vinegar from Modena which is fabulous and then there is wild west of balsamic vinegars where you never know what you are buying until you taste it. Below you will find 2 links to some nice PDO Balsamic and some very decent but not expensive balsamic vinegar.
Remember that a Balsamic vinegar should not taste like vinegar. It is more like a tangy grape syrup ; it should taste smooth, creamy with tangy and sweet notes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- there are many wonderful types of extra virgin olive oil: fruity, less fruity, etc.
They are all good, I’d only avoid using using just “been bottled” olive oils as some types, in my experience, tend to be bitter (they do mellow out after a month or two).
Naturally, we also want to avoid using rancid olive oils. So before you pour it on, TASTE it.
That’s it! There's only 5 ingredients! The success of this dish depends its ingredients, I will provide suggestions on how to choose the right ingredients as we go through the recipe.
1. We begin by shaving an old Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese preferred.
You can shave the cheese ahead of time and cover if not using immediately. This is a salad that we put together right before serving.
2. Put the clean lettuce in a wide pretty bowl and dress add salt and pepper with a good drizzle of EVOO and good balsamic vinegar. Toss salad.
3. taste a piece of lettuce to ensure that its properly dressed and adjust seasonings if necessary
4. Right before serving slice the peach. It is important that you do not do it ahead of time as Ive noticed that cut peaches and nectarines color turns the longer it sits out. Slice the peach thinly - not paper thin but pretty close
5. place peach slices on salad in a pattern so that its pretty to look at
6. we will top each piece of fruit with a a thin shaving of parmigiano reggiano cheese
7. place a drop (or drizzle) of balsamic vinegar over each slice of cheese
8. this salad is ready to serve as is, no further tossing should be done. to serve, don’t toss but use your serving utensils to dig deep into the bowl and pick up some salad with fruit & cheese on top.
Recommended Balsamic Vinegars:
(These are NOT an affiliate link as I don't know how to do that YET :S)
This is the GOOD stuff- for special friends & loved ones.
PDO Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena (here)
THIS is my everyday and awesome Balsamic vinegar. Its not made the traditional way but it tastes pretty close to the good stuff (here)
If you would like to see me prepare this salad - follow this link
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AUDIO: Please forgive my audio, still working on improving it. This is only my 5th video and am working hard to learn as fast as possible and create videos all by myself during the pandemic!