Few things signal summer like the aroma of fresh peaches, and this week I've been heartily celebrating their appearance in my CSA box. Quite appropriately, it was National Doughnut Day when I received an armful of doughnut peaches, both my favorite kind of doughnut and my favorite kind of peach. I turned a few of them into a refreshing salad with peppery arugula, shards of ricotta salata, and a tarragon-flecked vinaigrette.
Also known as Saturn peaches, these saucer-shaped fruits are so charming and sweet, with a lower acidity than yellow peaches. I love using doughnut (or donut) peaches in salads because the slices are perfectly bite-sized, but regular white peaches or even yellow peaches are also lovely. You want them to be ripe enough to offer a luscious bite of juiciness but firm enough that they hold their shape and don't soak the greens.
To give the salad a nice balance of flavors, I paired the peaches with spicy arugula and a light vinaigrette with a touch of tarragon and mustard. Ricotta salata cheese provides a slightly salty, slightly creamy element and, if you like, you can add a handful of pistachios for crunch.
This salad is sure to become a regular on my table throughout this glorious summer of peaches (doughnut and otherwise). Happy peach season!
Peach and Arugula Salad
8 ounces peaches (about 2 regular or 3-4 Saturn peaches)
5 ounces arugula
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved or crumbled
1/4 cup toasted pistachios (optional)
Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Thinly slice peaches and place in a large bowl with arugula.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, and shallot. Slowly add the olive oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Stir in the tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add dressing to peaches and arugula and toss. Divide salad between plates, sprinkle with ricotta salata and pistachios, and serve.
(Images: Emily Ho)