GRILLED PEACH CAPRESE SALAD
I’m sure many of you know by now that I’m not much of a cook. As a matter of fact, the first time I was on the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson asked me how I became a restaurant critic. My honest answer was, “My mother taught me how to not cook,” to which he wittily came back with, “That’s solid credentials!” So, when I come up with recipes nowadays, especially ones that Mr. X enjoys, I’m particularly proud.
As a matter of fact, the short version of one of my all-time favorite stories is that Mr. X came home early the first time I was surprising him with my culinary skills, so I panicked and served the lasagne waaay before it had all melded together. He couldn’t even eat it, saying it wasn’t lasagne, but rather lasagne ingredients! Duh. And then he uttered the famous words I have hung onto for all these years: “Ka, do me a favor and never cook again.” And he’s never once asked to make him anything in the hundred years since that infamous incident! So, how brilliant am I?! (And yes, ladies, you can definitely borrow that dupe.)
But now that I’m more health-conscious, I do whip-up a special repast for us every now and again. And, as my regular readers know, I’m always happy to share the recipes for my original creations with you.
This one came about one night last year when I was trying to use-up leftovers. Even though it was incredibly delicious, not to mention very healthful, I hadn’t made it again until the recent Los Angeles heatwave, when Mr. X and I were hungry, but would not leave the house in the dangerous conditions, and could not bring ourselves to put on the oven for even a frozen pizza. My Grilled Peach Caprese Salad was the perfect hot weather treat!
[Note: Since then, I’ve discovered that a few other people have a recipe for a similar dish, which I thought I had invented, but I’m always happy to be a part of great minds thinking alike. And, as this e-zine states, it’s not about me.]
So, with this entire world having to be prepared for more heatwaves this summer, (including the one we’re experiencing in LA this very week!,) I’m here to share my recipe with you. And, as I always happily advise you with my more-than-easy plans, you can adjust as needed without ruining the final taste. How wonderful is that?! And now, presenting (drum roll, please,) my…
GRILLED PEACH CAPRESE SALAD
This is what I had on hand that second time I made it, and those amounts of each ingredient turned-out to be the perfect recipe for two of us to have for dinner, and be totally sated, without even bread on the side!
[Note: I tell you even the smallest things, that should seem like common knowledge, because those are the things that I like to know exactly when I’m following a recipe.]
2 normal-sized ripe peaches, any variety (I used yellow ones)
8 chunky round pats of mozzarella
3 regular Roma tomatoes (you can use any type of tomato, actually; I’m just always partial to Romas)
about 8 small leaves of basil, or fewer, cut-up just a bit
a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar
And that’s it for the ingredients of this delicious, nutritious meal!
GETTING IT ALL READY
First, slice and grill the peaches. Slice them around the pit, and then just sort-of swivel them off. (Nothing has to be perfect in this recipe, so if some of it comes off in chunks, so be it. But try for as many “rings” as possible.)
If you have any type of grill already fired-up, grill both sides of the peach slices on there. But I just coated a frying pan with olive oil and sautéed them, on medium, a few minutes on each side. We were impatient to eat, so I didn’t let them get dark. (But the markings from a grill make the look of the finished product a bit more dramatic.) My peaches were soft to begin with, so I just heated them for the warmth it adds to the cold salad. And olive oil is always a healthful additive.
While the peaches are heating, get the rest ready. (But remember to keep an eye on the peaches. If you’re someone who gets distracted, just do the steps one at a time. It’s no biggie and adds just a few minutes to the prep time.)
Wash and slice the tomatoes. (Flat slices, not chunks.)
If your mozzarella cheese doesn’t come in pre-sliced pats, (as mine does, because I’m always thinking ahead,) slice it a bit thickly.
Wash your basil leaves if they’re straight from the store. If they’re freshly grown in your house, just pick them from the plant, and skip the rinsing. No need. (Unless you have a lot of dust in your kitchen. But then, ewww.)
On a big serving platter, make 8 round mounds thusly. For each:
Mozzarella on the bottom, then peaches, then tomatoes. And have all of them touching, for a pretty presentation.
Distribute the basil leaves evenly on each round.
Then sprinkle the balsamic vinegar lightly over it all. I caution—lightly—or you’ll ruin it.
And that’s it! Easy peazy. You can always do a smaller version as a side dish. But on a hot summer day, this is the perfect dinner. And since we’re due for more heatwaves this season, it’s good to have this recipe in your back pocket.
Enjoy! Maybe even tonight!