Last week, when I glimpsed this year's first organic peaches at Monterey Market, I squealed with delight. Summer is on its way! My produce guy at Monterey Market told me the peaches were good and I knew exactly what I wanted to make: Thomas Keller's Peach Salad has been earmarked since I got Ad Hoc At Home.
I brought home a sizable bag of peaches and Otis and Lilah, who seemed to be as excited about stone fruit as I am, gobbled up the peaches immediately. I went back to the market for two more rounds of peaches before I could keep enough fruit away from my hungry kiddos to make TK's salad.
Not surprising for a Thomas Keller recipe, the salad was a multi-step deal. First I had to make the peach puree. See recipe here. Peeling the peaches and smelling their unique perfume made that task worthwhile.
My laid back approach in the kitchen left me feeling little resentful that I had to do so much work to prepare a salad. I just wanted to eat all the seductive ingredients: baby arugula, endive, Marcona almonds, and of course peaches. I mustered enough willpower to finish preparing the salad.
adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home
- 3 heads white Belgian endive
- 3 heads red Belgian endive
- 2 tablespoons Peach Puree
- 1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup salted Marcona almonds
I like the way Keller gives detailed directions for simple tasks. For preparing the endive he suggests cutting 1/2 inch from the bottom of each endive head. This will allow the outer leaves to easily fall away from the core. Continue cutting the base at 1/2 inch intervals until all the leaves come loose. (This technique may be obvious to you, but I had always cored the endive first. TK's technique is so much simpler and makes for a nicer looking endive leaf in the end.)
Place endive leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to refresh. Then drain and dry the leaves. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together peach puree, shallot, parsley, and vinegar. Then slowly whisk in oil.
Cut peaches into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Using the peach trimmings, finely dice to make 1/4 cup of peach bits. Stir diced peach bits into the dressing. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Drizzle 1/2 dressing around the sides of the large bowl holding the endive leaves. Toss to lightly coat with dressing. Season with salt and chives. Toss arugula and peach to coat with a light layer of dressing.
Arrange salad on a serving platter with a little more vinaigrette over the top. Bring remaining dressing to the table in a bowl for adding as one wishes.
A Yummy Supper variation:
The heathen in me kept eating the salad with my fingers. I surrendered to my impulses and morphed Keller's recipe into one that suited my style. I tossed some arugula and peach slices in TK's dressing and placed them and a Marcona almond on a piece of endive.... elegant salad immediately transformed to lovely finger food.