Salads can be a bummer.
Too often, especially in Midwestern American culture, they are used as a boring food, arbitrarily assigned to be virtuous, which atones for the crime of being a woman with a body. They’re eaten out of obligation, because of their designation as healthy, where “healthy” has come to mean: gastronomic flagellation through the consumption of flavorless, pleasure-less gruel.
While that kind of thinking does a disservice to people eating the food– and we’ll talk about that another time– it also gives good food a bad rap. Once you stop looking at salads as punishment or duty, it finally becomes possible to see them for what they are: fucking delicious. And this salad is our new favorite.
Juicy tomatoes paired with equally juicy peaches, tipped to the savory side with the faintest sliver of red onion and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Nothing is more appropriate for the season and we have yet to find a better accompaniment to grilled meat. Don’t get tied up with the absence of lettuce; salads are much more than that. And, very simply, a pile of delicious foods tossed together in a dressing.
The finely sliced red onion is really what holds this dish together. While you can achieve that effect with a good, sharp knife, we like to use a mandolin slicer. Mandolin slicers are an essential tool in our kitchen and we use them most days. Whether slicing potatoes for a breakfast skillet, or making garlic chips, they speed up our prep and cut down on mess. You can get your hands on an inexpensive model at most markets but we really like this one. Make sure that the blade stays sharp, and always, always use the hand guard.
- 5 ripe heirloom Tomatoes
- 4 ripe Peaches
- ⅛ Red Onion
- 1 handful Basil
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Serves: 4, easily.
- Wash Tomatoes and Peaches thoroughly. Cut into wedges that are roughly equal in size, and not so big that you can’t cram a couple into your mouth at the same time. Thinly slice ⅛ of a Red Onion with a steady hand or your mandolin slicer. Remove the basil leaves whole from the stems, and bruise them slightly. Toss everything together in a serving bowl, dress with Oil and Vinegar, and season with Salt and Pepper to taste.