This Peach Salad is a modern Italian classic that makes the best of ripe, juicy peach bounties of the summer. The spectrum of flavours and textures here is simply perfection: Sweet peaches, peppery rocket/arugula, salty prosciutto, milky mozzarella and a zesty lemon dressing to bring the this merry band of Italian ingredients together (the dressing is the drummer, I guess?😂)
Welcome back to the inaugural Holiday Salad Marathon, we’re on Day 6 and it’s PEACH Season so let’s make the most of it!
Peach season is short and sweet, so when it lands, we should get our fill with gusto! Here in Australia, in my opinion peaches can be a bit hit and miss, so when you get your hands on a good lot, buy up!
While we all love to devour them as whole fruit, there’s a whole world of other ways to use peaches to explore such as this Italian Peach Salad. Simple and classic, it makes the most of peaches when they’re at their peak while brining some Italian flair to your table!
With the prosciutto and mozzarella adding protein heft, this salad can also be substantial enough to stand in as a light lunch. Just increase the portion sizes.
What goes in Peach Salad
The one and only rule of thumb: If you can’t get juicy, ripe peaches, don’t make this salad!! It kind of defeats the purpose. 🙂 This salad demands great peaches (if not to justify the expense for the prosciutto and mozzarella!)
Peaches – Yellow are best if you can get them because the bright colour really pops against the other colours in this salad! However, white peaches are delicious as we all know, and work just as well from a flavour perspective. Nectarines are also just as good here;
Rocket/arugula – The peppery, bitey leaves are a sensational match with super sweet juicy peaches, both flavour and visually. Green fluffage is always a good thing to add texture into salads!
Buffalo/cow’s milk mozzarella – Nothing like the shredded yellow stuff we use on everyday pizza, fresh mozzarella is an entirely different product. This cheese is pure white in colour, and comes packed in water or whey in tubs. The taste is milky, moist and creamy. Fresh mozzarella made from buffalo milk is widely regarded as the richest and finest. But if you can’t find it cow’s milk mozzarella (called fiore di latte) is perfectly fine and also a little cheaper. Rather than cutting the cheese ball, just tear it apart gently with your fingers. If neither of these cheeses are accessible, try bocconcini (normal or cherry) as an alternative – it’ll still be great!;
Prosciutto – Get paper-thin, freshly-shaved slices of this Italian cured meat rather than the packets if you can. They are more moist and buttery, which is exactly what we want! Yes it’s expensive by the kilo/pound, but we need only 4 thin slices here, essentially 1 per person – around 70g/2 oz in total. Alternative: Jamon serrano, which is the Spanish sister of prosciutto cured in a similar way.
And here’s what you need for the Lemon Dressing. We don’t need much – we definitely do not want to overpower the flavours in this salad with the dressing!
The assembly is completely effortless:
Shake Dressing ingredients in a jar;
Cut peaches into quarters or into 6 wedges if they are extra large;
Toss the rocket/arugula in a little dressing (we want them coated with a little dressing of their own) and scatter in a platter along with hand torn chunks of mozzarella;
Place peaches around, nestling them into the rocket;
Drape the prosciutto onto the platter;
Drizzle with remaining dressing!
The idea with this salad is that each person gets one piece of prosciutto and you eat a bit with each forkful of peach/rocket/mozzarella. So you’ll want to offer a knife along with the fork for this salad. Really, try to get a bit of everything into your mouth – the combination is just sublime (I hate using that word but here, no other quite captures it!)
Serve this Peach Salad with any Western foods – particularly Italian of course – throughout summer. Else it has the heft to make a great appetiser, or a light meal as mentioned earlier. Whatever you choose, make the most of that short, sweet peach season. This salad is a stellar flavour combination that’s the ultimate expression of warm weather, good company and beautiful produce! – Nagi x
PS. Since posting this, I’ve created a variation of this salad with feta and a poppyseed dressing – check it out!
What is the Holiday Salad Marathon?
This is my inaugural Christmas recipe countdown where I am sharing 30 salad recipes in a row until Christmas Eve – something completely different to people’s usual baking countdowns!
These salads are in addition to my regular 3 new recipes a week. Because aren’t you bored of the usual tomato-cucumber-lettuce garden salad routine??
- 3 small peaches or 2 large peaches
- 4 cups loosely packed rocket/arugula
- 150g/5oz ball buffalo or cow’s milk mozzarella (1 ball, ok it slightly less or more)
- 4 slices prosciutto (or jamon serrano, about 70g/2.5 oz; for other subs see Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- Cut peach: Halve peaches. Remove seed. Cut each half into half again. If your peaches are really large, cut each half into thirds.
- Dressing: Combined dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- Toss rocket in ~2 tbsp of dressing.
- Mozzarella: Tear mozzarella into pieces.
- Assemble: Arrange rocket, peaches, mozzarella on a large plate or platter. Drape prosciutto around salad. Drizzle remaining oil over the salad. Serve!
Life of Dozer
When a friend brought round a freshly caught lobster, and Dozer’s first though was lobster sashimi, yay!! (His second thought was new toy for me??! Yep, that lobster was still alive and wriggling around!)