Last summer I went to a concert at an outdoor winery/music venue. The evening was warm (it was outside the SF fog zone, mind you!), the music was amazing and the company of three girlfriends made for a beautiful evening. However, being the food obsessed person that I am, rather than relish in the musical experience, I couldn’t stop thinking about the peach tomato salad my friend Audrey made for our pre concert picnic. It’s a salad she had tried at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack and decided to recreate for our concert picnic. It had just the right combination of sweetness and acidity, with a hint of salty cheese. A tasty salute to summer.
For those of you in the San Francisco area, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack is a must. It isn’t fancy, the meatballs aren’t the best you’re ever going to taste, but the atmosphere is fantastic. The food is inexpensive, the cocktails are inventive and strong and there’s always a seasonal salad on the menu. It’s solid.
Back to peaches. Fast forward to about a month ago, and Audrey once again made the Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack salad for her birthday weekend celebration. I was again reminded of how much I love this salad, especially because it’s peak tomato and peach season in the Bay Area.
Since Audrey’s birthday celebration weekend in June, I’ve made the salad three times, each time playing with the proportions. With the help of Audrey and Emmy’s, I think I’ve nailed the perfect salad of summer.
My kitchen notes:
If you don’t like strong, overpowering onions, try this trick. Slice onions and place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Drain the water and rinse two more times as you assemble the salad. This will help take the oniony sting out.
Audrey and Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack use white balsamic vinegar for the dressing, but I like to use sherry vinegar.
Peach Tomato Salad – adapted from Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack by way of my friend Audrey
4 large peaches
4 large tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup feta crumbles
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
1. Thinly slice the ½ red onion. See my kitchen notes above if you would like to take the bite out of the red onion flavor.
2. Dice the peaches. Dice the tomatoes. Cut the basil into thin strips (chiffonade).
3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk to combine.
4. In a large bowl, mix together tomatoes, peaches, basil, red onion and feta cheese.
5. Add dressing to peach mixture and gently toss together.