This is a salad that just epitomizes summer to me and shows that by choosing just a few fresh, seasonal ingredients perfectly paired, can create a memorable dish. I love to prepare a salad such as this one for a lazy summer lunch by the pool, although it also could be served as first course for dinner on those very hot summer days when all you want to do is get out of the kitchen and instead fire up the grill. Basically all you need to create this salad are perfectly ripe peaches, fresh mozzarella (buffalo mozzarella preferred), some peppery arugula salad, and a few slices of prosciutto. To dress this salad I use a drizzle of our own extra virgin olive oil, and a splash of aged, thick, sweet balsamic vinegar. If you prefer, you could also cook the prosciutto pieces uuntil crispy and then break them up over the salad before serving.
Buffalo mozzarella is a mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic Italian water buffalo, and is traditionally produced in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno. These days, buffalo mozzrella is also produced across Italy and elsewhere. If you cannot find buffalo mozzarella, use a good quality fresh mozzarella, preferable handmade. A perfectly ripe peach should be fairly firm, not soft, and be completely free of bruises and blemishes. A good peach should smell sweetly fragrant, and it is important to remember that peaches will only soften when left sitting at room temperature and will not ripen any more after they have been picked. When using peaches for grilling, freestone peaches are best, and pick ripe but slightly firm peaches.
When buying balsamic vinegar, look for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena or Reggio. This would be the true artisan-style vinegar, the best you can buy. The other type, Aceto Balsamico di Modena is generally an industrially made product, and its quality may vary. If the label states it was indeed made in Modena however, it may be worth trying. In the States, the best source for artisan-style balsalmico would be a good Italian specialty store. This delicious imported Italian condiment can be found these days in almost any quality grocery store.
Deborah Mele 2014
Grilled Peach & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
- 4 Ripe Peaches
- 8 Cups Fresh Arugula, Washed & Dried
- 4 Slices Prosciutto di Parma
- 8 Slices Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- Sea Salt
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Cut the peaches into wedges and lightly brush with olive oil.
- Grill the peaches on a hot grill until browned.
- Arrange the arugula onto four plates, then arrange the peach slices around the plate.
- Place two mozzarella slices in the center of the plate.
- Tear the prosciutto into strips, and scatter around the plate.
- Just before serving, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the plate, followed by a teaspoon or so of the aged balsamic.
- Season each plate with the sea salt and cracked pepper, then serve immediately.