We suffer from bland, watery, and mushy tomatoes most of the year, but each summer, we get a reprieve when these deeply-colored, and tasty fruits make their appearance at farmers market and grocery stores. There are so many varieties, ranging in size, color, and shape. Depending on the type, tomatoes vary in taste, from highly acidic to very sweet.
Today at the farmers market, there were tomatoes of all kinds to pick from, piled high on tables under canopies. I went from stall to stall, taking my time to narrow down my choices to a basket of multi-colored cherry tomatoes and a few odd, mishapen heirlooms ranging in color from garnet to orange to lemon yellow. Since the tomatoes were at its best, perfectly ripe and bursting with juice, I wanted to showcase them by simply slicing and dressing them with a fruity vinaigrette.
In addition to tomatoes, peaches are also at the height of its season. Among the varieties I tasted at the farmers market, I really enjoyed the donut peaches the most. They are unusually flat, resembling a donut, thin-skinned, and tasted very sweet. They were a good complement the slightly acidic, bold flavors of the tomatoes.
I overheard one of the fruit vendors tell a woman that he makes a version of the Caprese Salad, substituting peaches for tomatoes. That was the spark I needed. A quick internet search yielded a recipe that I adapted to make a simple vinaigrette using the peaches and basil, two of summer’s prominent flavors.
I did not purée half of the peaches in the vinaigrette I used in the photos above. I got the idea to do so after making the initial batch, so I made a second one that turned out to be superior to the first so I changed the recipe to include that step. I liked leaving the other half of the peaches diced as a nice contrast to the tomatoes. Either way, it is a tasty vinaigrette.
Heirloom and Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Peach and Basil Vinaigrette
Yields approximately 3/4 cup
8 ounces peaches, cut into cubes, separated
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar to keep vinaigrette lighter in color and flavor.)
1/2 clove garlic, minced (I just wanted a hint of garlic, so used a minimal amount. Use more, if desired.)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil,chiffonade plus more for garnish
Variety of tomatoes, as much as desired, sliced
Place half of the peaches in the bowl of the food processor and purée. Set aside the rest of the peaches. Add the balsamic vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, pepper and salt and pulse to combine. Add the olive oil and blend. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the rest of the cubed peaches and the chiffonade of fresh basil.
To assemble, arrange tomato slices on a platter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk the dressing and drizzle on top of the tomatoes, to taste. Garnish with more basil. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Southern Living.
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