Summer is children dashing through sprinklers, the smell of sunscreen and barbecues on the beach. Summer is salmon running, wildflowers blooming and mosquitoes buzzing in your ear. Summer is berry picking, long hikes and canoe rides in the midnight sun. Summer is whale watching, halibut fishing and moose calves darting about. Summer is family vacations, long road trips and unexpected brown bear sightings. Summer is grilled hot dogs, watermelon wedges and glasses of ice-cold lemonade.
Some of my very favorite summer flavors are juicy, ripe stone fruits. Deepest purple plums, ruby-red cherries, sherbet-colored apricots, multi-hued peaches and nectarines. Stone fruit is as versatile an ingredient as they come -- delicious baked, grilled, poached, roasted or freshly prepared in sweet and savory dishes alike. Make a salsa, chutney or sauce to go with poultry, pork or fish. Slice fresh fruit to serve with cheese and crackers. Bake a pie, tart or cobbler. Simmer down the fruit and transform it into jewel-toned jars of jam and keep the flavors of summer in the pantry year-round.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh peaches is sliced atop a leafy green salad with sharp feta cheese and crunchy almonds, drizzled with a citrusy poppy seed vinaigrette. I love the interplay of salty, sweet and acidic in this recipe and the texture of the tiny little poppy seeds against each bite of fresh peach. I'm also a fan of the eye-catching, vibrant colors of this salad, a simply beautiful, fresh and healthy addition to any summer gathering.
Just Peachy Summer Salad
For the salad:
8 ounces baby spring mix greens
1 large peach, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Add the greens to a salad bowl. Scatter peaches on top, followed by onions, nuts and cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well combined. Drizzle over salad. Toss and serve promptly.
Alaska From Scratch