I promised you a salad quite a while ago now. Sorry about the wait. It’s the best salad I’ve eaten in a very long time, and it wasn’t kind of me to make you go this long without it – especially because it’s very much a summer salad, and we’re fast running out of summer.
I’ve cycled to the station in the mist twice this week. There are leaves on the floor. My fellow passengers must have spotted this before I did, and have been sporting black tights and woolly scarves for a few weeks now, but I’m not quite as keen as they are to embrace this autumn.
On the plus side, knitwear! Good books! Pubs with fires! On the downside, the gathering dark. Rain, gloom, damp socks. No more nectarines.
So, while we still can – while there are still ripe nectarines in the shops, and the chance of finding a tomato that hasn’t been shipped from Chile in an icebox – let’s eat this. Imagine if you could somehow extract the essence of summer; the hot, sweet, lazy afternoons and the smell of honeysuckle, the ground nearly too hot to walk on? Well, it would taste like this. I’ve decided.
A P.S.: You might be thinking that the combination of nectarines, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar doesn’t sound particularly like a match made in heaven, but please trust me. It really is.
Recipe after the jump.
nectarine, tomato and basil salad
This is from Diana Henry’s newest book, A Change of Appetite. There is nothing in this book that I don’t want to eat. If you can get your hands on a copy, do. You’ll thank me.
275g tomatoes, a mix of colours if possible
250g buffalo mozzarella, drained and torn into pieces
Leaves from a large bunch of basil, torn
Salt and black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Halve and stone the nectarines, then cut each half into 6 slices. Cut the tomatoes into a variety of shapes depending on their sizes – whatever you think looks the prettiest.
Arrange the tomatoes and nectarines on a serving plate, and scatter with the basil leaves and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil and balsamic.
Serve immediately, with crusty bread to mop up the tomato juices and a glass of very cold white wine.