This unusual salad combines the voluptuous sweetness of peaches with the warm, just-picked flavor of summer tomatoes. Fennel contributes spiciness and toasted pecans add a welcome crunch. The salad is at its best when prepared with the juiciest fruit available at the peak of summer. If peaches are mealy, try substituting nectarines. Serve with fish, chicken, pork, on a buffet, or with focaccia and a few cheeses for lunch.
1/4 cup pecans
4 large ripe peaches, yellow or white
4 medium-large ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, finely crushed, optional
Sea salt or black Cyprus sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil or more to taste
Freshly chopped parsley, fennel fronds, basil, or mint, alone or in any combination you like
To toast the pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a cake pan and bake, stirring halfway through, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from the oven and transfer to a board to cool. Coarsely chop the pecans and set aside.
To make the salad
Cut each peach in half through the stem end and remove the pit. Place the peaches cut sides down and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Core and cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the fruit on a platter, alternating the colors.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, fennel seeds, if using, and some sea salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Spoon the dressing over the fruit, scatter with reserved pecans, and top the salad with chopped herbs of choice.
Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2016
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