The furnace that powers the NYC summer is burning at full capacity this week. That, combined with the fact that my apartment is in various stages of disarray in preparation for the international move, has meant that cooking has been nonexistent. I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying goodbye dinners at some of my favourite restaurants (Momofuku, Diner, Porsena, ABC Kitchen, any Mexican, Fat Radish – I will miss them all!) which has left my kitchen lonely. But I did need to eat something at home, and this salad was perfect. No cooking – just assembling.
It is salad bursting with the goodness of Summer. Because it’s so simple, invest in the best quality ingredients you can find. In-season, organic peaches are likely to taste a whole lot better than ones that were picked on a tree in a far away land and shipped to you. Peaches fondness for dairy doesn’t stop at cream, they are also partial to cheese and the rich oiliness of nuts, which you’ll discover when you take a bit of this combination. The watercress’ bitterness is mellowed by the creamy goat cheese and the honey in the dressing adds a sweetness that counterbalances the saltiness of the ham.
This salad is a basic formula for many tasty combinations. Fruit + ham + greens + nuts + cheese = excellent salad. Figs, pears or watermelon would sub in for peaches and you can use any green you like; spinach, rocket or a bag of mixed greens from the supermarket would do. Try different nuts and cheese combinations too, blue cheese would go beautifully with pear for example. Shake the dressing ingredients in a jar, assemble the salad, and you’ve got a delicious meal for virtually no effort – perfect summer dining.
Peach, Hazelnut and Feta Salad
Serves 4 as a side salad, 2 as a big dinner salad
For the salad
- 2 ripe peaches, sliced into segments
- 110 grams / 1/4 pound soft goat or cow feta
- 6 slices of prosciutto
- 30g / 1 oz hazelnuts, unsalted and chopped
- 1 bunch of watercress or a few handfuls of rocket (arugula) or spinach
For the dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Place the greens in a large bowl and dress with half the dressing. Crumble feta over the leaves, add the peaches and drape the prosciutto in and around the peaches. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top and sprinkle with hazelnuts.