My whole life, words have been tangled up with colors and flavors. It took me a while to realize that this isn’t quite the norm – actually, it’s a mild case of synesthesia. Although this doesn’t have a big impact in the day to day, I suspect it’s partly responsible for both why I’m fascinated by language (my full-time job is in computational linguistics) and why I’m fascinated by food. My name (Claire), for instance, is like biting into a perfectly ripe peach – it’s a lovely blending of reds and oranges, and the feeling of pronouncing it is akin to breaking the fuzzy skin of a peach and reaching the sweet, juicy interior. So it’s not surprising that peaches are among my favorite fruits. And while I can easily eat them out of hand, I prefer, as always, to be a bit creative. Here, nearly ripe peaches are pickled and then served over salad greens (I used spicy arugula, another favorite of mine), topped with blue cheese, walnuts, and honey for the perfect combination of flavors and textures. It’s an unusual but visually stunning (and delicious!) preparation. A worthy dish for an ingredient I hold dear.
Pickled Peach Salad (adapted from Running With Tweezers)
Yield: 2 – 4 servings
- 1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar*
- 1 bird’s eye chili, minced**
- 3 – 4 almost-ripe peaches, pits removed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 lb arugula or other greens
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 – 1 cup walnut halves and pieces***
- salt and pepper, to taste
*Use a good quality vinegar here for best results.
**Seed or substitute with a jalapeno, if you like things less spicy.
***You can use other nuts, like almonds or pecans, instead.
****The amount of honey you want will depend on how pickled your peaches are, so adjust depending on how vinegary they taste.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar and 1 bird’s eye chili, minced.
- Place 3 – 4 small almost-ripe peaches, pits removed and thinly sliced in a bowl or jar, then pour the vinegar mixture over, and mix or shake to combine. Cover, and marinate at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, in a large bowl (or divided evenly between 2 – 4 bowls), place 1/4 lb arugula or other greens, top with the drained pickled peaches, 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, 1/2 – 1 cup walnut halves and pieces, honey, and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.