Peach and Beet Salad
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I can’t promise this will be my last peach post, but I’m definitely reaching peak peach capacity. My literary mother sent me this poem, “From Blossoms,” which is in Li-Young Lee’sfirst book of poems Rose (Boa editions, Ltd., 1986). I thought it was so lovely, so I’m sharing it with you, too.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
The chef I worked for at Fork in Philadelphia often paired beets and peaches together in the summer. This is not a tossed salad, but as you serve the salad, the ingredients mingle, and the dressing spreads. Be sure to pass more dressing on the side.
for the dressing:
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1½ tsp. honey
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
for the salad:
- 1 lbs. beets
- 2 T. pine nuts
- 2 peaches
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- small handful of basil
- dressing to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- Make the dressing: Whisk together the mustard, honey, salt, pepper and vinegar. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to mix, but do not emulsify. Set aside.
- Roast the beets: Trim beets of their greens and save for another use. Place beets in a small shallow pan such as an 8 by 8 baking pan or 9-inch pie plate. Fill pan with water to reach an 1/8 of an inch high. Cover pan with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat until golden. Set aside.
- Cut rough end (not long pointy end) off cooked and cooled beets, and discard. Rub the beets of their skin and discard. Slice beets in half through the long pointy end, then continue cutting into large wedges. Place on a large serving platter.
- Slice the peaches in half, twist gently to release the pit. Cut peaches into wedges about the same size as the beets. Add to the platter. Crumble goat cheese over the peaches and beets and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Scatter small basil leaves over the top, tearing big leaves into smaller pieces if necessary. Sprinkle whole salad with salt and pepper to taste.
- Give dressing a stir and with a large tablespoon, spoon dressing to taste over the top of the salad. Do not toss. Serve, passing more dressing if necessary.