I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I am sad to say that I cannot. I’ve mentioned before that Michael’s Genuine is my favorite spot for brunch. And I don’t mean that it’s my favorite spot in Miami, I mean that it’s my favorite anywhere. Now that my due date is fast approaching (32 days left! But who’s counting…), I’m taking every opportunity to do things I soon won’t be able to. Like sleeping in and going out for fancy brunch with Tom.
One of the many daily specials at our fancy brunch was “Local Peaches” – a salad made with peaches, radishes, almonds, feta cheese and basil. Since Tom isn’t a huge fan of peaches, I was going to pass even though it was the dish that stood out from the menu. But then a server walked by with the dish and it was such a beautiful plate of food – all gem-toned peaches, bright radish rings and vibrant basil – that I knew I had to get have it despite Tom’s anti-peach stance. As usual, I was right. The peaches were the most memorable dish we tried and Tom loved it. It’s nice to be right.
Of course, I had to try to recreate it at home. I couldn’t find local peaches, but I did find some nice-looking ones from Georgia which were the perfect almost-ripe for the salad. The peaches and radishes are sliced super-thin (a mandoline works particularly well for the radishes) and tossed with a little olive oil and a touch of white wine vinegar. Almonds are coarsely chopped and toasted. Basil is torn. Feta is crumbled. Everything gets assembled prettily on a plate and generously sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper. It’s a little sweet, crisp, crunchy and super refreshing. Seriously one of the best ideas I’ve ever stolen from a restaurant and the perfect summer side to a sandwich, or a beautiful appetizer for a fancy dinner party.
If you want to stretch this out a bit or make a bigger meal of it, I would imagine this salad would be delicious with some lightly dressed arugula or baby spinach.
1/2 cup almonds with the skin on them
4 almost-ripe peaches (they should not give when you squeeze them, nor should they be hard)
4 small radishes (or 2 large)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (preferably sheep’s milk)
10 leaves basil, torn into small pieces
freshly ground pepper
Roughly chop the almonds and place them in a skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant and slightly golden, stirring frequently. Set aside.
Thinly slice the peaches and the radishes (the radishes slice really well with a mandoline if you have one). Place the olive oil and vinegar in a bowl and add the peaches and radishes. Using your fingers, gently toss until the peaces and radishes are coated.
Arrange the content of the bowl onto a plate. Sprinkle with feta cheese, almonds and torn basil leaves. Drizzle the remaining oil from the bowl over the plate and grind a very generous amount of black pepper over the top.
Makes 2 side servings, or 4 appetizer portions.