Celebrate summer at the Cambria Farmer’s Market Friday afternoons from 2:30 to 5:30 in the Veterans’ Hall parking lot. Produce great meals with your bounty.
Blushing peaches and juicy red tomatoes star in two of my treasured summer recipes. Adapted from the slim volume, “Tomatoes” by Miriam Rubin, “Tomato and Peach Salad with Toasted Pecans,” caught my fancy last season. Weird you query? Yes, but no. The pairing is perfect, and pretty as a picture.
Southern in origin, the pecans and sumptuous dressing elevate the fruits to “ooh and aah” status. Several friends couldn’t wait for the Culinary Corner this month, begging my spattered test copies right off the counter. Trust me on this one!
Summer Peach and Tomato Salad
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1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 tblsp. honey
1 tblsp. fruity olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. white wine vinegar, champagne if you have it
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
2 tblsp. shallots or red onion, minced
3 peaches, ripely firm and sliced
1 pound red ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
2 tblsp. mint leaves, slivered
1 tblsp. fresh basil, slivered
Toast pecans in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring several times. Cool and break them up with your fingers. For the dressing, mix the next five ingredients, honey through salt and pepper, in a small bowl. Stir in shallots; set aside. Prepare peaches, tomatoes, mint and basil. Place in a salad bowl, preferably glass for pretty presentation. Just before serving, pour dressing over all. Mix gently. Allow to stand for a few minutes before sprinkling with toasted pecans. Serves 4-6.
Cold summer soup delicioso! Through the years, I have tweaked the basic tomato, cucumber, onion and pepper combination into what I call my Madrid version after tasting Gazpacho throughout that city. I use a Padron or Shishito pepper with mild heat instead of the spicy green bells. The recipe produces an ample quart.
2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, seeded and cut in chunks
1 long cucumber, peeled and thickly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 Padron or Shishito pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tblsp. Sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin, optional
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Process in batches if necessary until smooth. Scrape down sides as needed. Chill puréed soup until cold. Overnight is best to allow the flavors to blend and mellow. Four hours will suffice if you just can’t wait. Serve in glass cups or bowls with a drop of olive oil on top for an unctuous touch.
Cook’s Note: For California Gazpacho, substitute one chopped green bell pepper in place of the Padron pepper. Substitute red wine vinegar for Sherry vinegar. After processed, add up to 1-1/2 cups tomato or vegetable juice to thin soup to desired consistency.