Summer’s bounty is rolling in, and if you’ve noticed the greengrocers, farm stands, and the produce section of your local market is brimming with delights. The tomatoes are luscious red, the green beans are snappy and fat, and the peaches are just coming into their finest.
Peaches are wonderful, sweet, juicy, fragrant… and did you know only one genetic marker different from a nectarine? Peaches are fuzzy and nectarines are not. That’s it.
Traditionally peaches are transformed into cobblers, pies, buckles, Bettys, grunts, crumbles, and many other ways regionally. When I was young, I picked peaches with my cousins, brought them home, and had them simply sliced in a bowl, then chilled fresh real cream was poured over, and if we could get away with it… a teaspoon of sugar!
These days, I have found that I like different elements of flavor in my recipes. Sweet, salty, bitter, and smokey, unique but in balance. It excites my mind when eating and discovering these in one forkful.
For years I have prepared simple Caprese salads in a myriad of ways, from humble to refined. It is one of my most favorite. Over the years I have added and subtracted ingredients at my whim - yes they depart from the classic - but one does need variety.
Today’s recipe is a rather tongue-in-chic variation I call “PBJ”. That would be Peach, Barutta, and Jamon.
FYI: Burrata is an incredibly rich and creamy mozzarella - and that is basically what it is: a mozzarella made from fresh cream! Jamon is simply Spanish for ham, and one can find good Serrano Jamon in some shops. If not, Prosciutto di Parma is a wonderful substitute. Either should be sliced as transparent as possible without ripping into it.
The salad is simply dressed with good extra virgin olive oil and a fine vintage balsamic. It makes a great first course at any summer gathering, add a bed of baby arugula or tender colorful greens to add a little volume to it - arranged on a platter or individual plated. (Either way, to really make it special, find a few edible blossoms to scatter on top!)
PBJ (Peach, Burrata, and Jamon)
Servings: 4 to 6
Total Time: 20 Minutes
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 yellow peaches, pitted and sliced into wedges
8 ounces burrata cheese, torn into chunks
2 ounces prosciutto, torn into long strips
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon good salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Place the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown in spots, a few minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
Arrange the peaches and prosciutto on a platter. Top with the burrata and basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle the pine nuts over top and serve.