Hurry! You must get to your farmers’ market quick. With the beginning of fall creeping in, we are officially nearing the end of both tomato and peach seasons. If you are thinking, “Who cares?,” then you have never had the joy of slicing up a densely-flavorful heirloom tomato or biting into a perfectly juicy and sweet peach.
Others of you might think, “Heirloom tomatoes? You mean those ugly, cracked, overpriced things?” Yes, I do.
Heirloom tomatoes are not your everyday tomatoes. They come in many shapes and sizes—ranging from red to yellow to striped green to purple—and can range in flavor from slightly peppery to candy-sweet. Their flesh seems to pack so much more flavor than your normal hybrid breed, and they are rarely mealy or watery like many tomatoes. Many farmers say that the uglier the heirloom, the better. Don’t pass one by for having a small crack on its side. It is probably a gem. Hung up on the price tag? Let me ask you, how many bad, mealy tomatoes have you wasted your money on over the years? I promise you, these babies are worth the extra $1 per pound.
Simply sliced with a drizzle of good olive oil, heirloom tomatoes will steal the meal, but in my opinion, the best way to showcase these bad boys is with another seasonal item: the humble peach. The combination might seem a bit strange, but trust me, the tomatoes and peaches bring out the best in each other. For me, this salad is the highlight of summer.
Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad
- 2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped into large, bite-sized chunks
- 1 pound ripe peaches, pitted and chopped into large, bite-sized chunks
- good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- Maldon salt (or any large-flake sea salt)
- 1 cup loosely-packed basil leaves
- Carefully mix together tomatoes and peaches.
- Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil to taste.
- Sprinkle with basil and Maldon salt to taste.