I've been lucky enough to do a bit of traveling over the past couple of months, and have been struck by the differences in the definition of "summer" wherever I go.
In northwest Indiana, "summer" means "oops, there goes another tornado watch!" As a long-time Californian, I'm brave when it comes to earthquakes ("oops, there goes another 3.2!"), but something of a pussy when it comes to tornadoes. When the screeching noises take over my cell phone, I throw a blanket into the bathtub and plot my path to the nearest basement. Native Indianans, however, don't even notice. They're just wondering when the rain is going to end, and plot to send their excess water out to California in return for a sunny day.
In New York City, "summer" means "sweating on the subway." I used to be a Southern girl who only glowed, but, somehow, advancing age has turned me into a powerhouse sweat-machine. Now I fairly glisten, like Edward Cullen in the sunlight (yeah, I watched those movies ... dreadful. You want a real actress? Cast my daughter.) And while I'm grateful for sweat's cleansing qualities, I don't appreciate heading for brunch at Dimes and arriving looking like a rat that was just fished out of the East River.
So I retreat to my SoCal summer, which means constantly-open windows, driving with the convertible top down, skinny margaritas, and an occasional sweatshirt after an evening tennis match. In other words, the perfect summer, all year round.
But what we don't have all year round, anywhere, is the fruit. And in each spot I've visited, I've been bedazzled by summer's treasures: chewy-ripe cherries, sensuous figs, delicious juicy peaches, luscious nectarines. If this is what summer means, I'll take it, wherever I can get it.
Today, I got it, in the form of a new favorite summer salad: Peaches, Burrata, Prosciutto, Arugula. Sounds like an Italian law firm, only sweeter, and much less expensive.
For the salad:
- 6 ounces arugula
- 3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2" slices
- 8 oz burrata, removed from water, drained, and cut into 1/3" slices
- 2 oz prosciutto, sliced into 1/4" strips
- Extra balsamic vinegar + honey for drizzling
For the salad dressing:
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- pinch of salt & pepper
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Add a little more olive oil if the mixture seems too thick. Toss with arugula in a salad bowl and momentarily set aside.
Arrange peaches around the rims of 2 dinner plates. Pile the dressed arugula into the center of each plate. Top the greens on each plate with 1/2 the burrata and 1/2 the prosciutto, artfully scattered. Drizzle the peaches with a little balsamic vinegar and a little honey. Crank a little black pepper across the top. Eat. Thank the universe for summer.