Southwestern-Style Recipes: Salad of Garden Greens with Peaches and Pepitas

This lovely, refreshing salad plays well with the spiciness of chile con queso and calabacitas.
September/October 2003
http://www.motherearthliving.com/Cooking-Methods/southwestern-style-recipes-salad-garden-greens-peaches-pepitas.aspx
Easy-to-make peach vinegar adds a refreshing sweet-sour lift to this succulent salad.


Photo By Joe Coca

Salad of Garden Greens with Peaches and Pepitas
Serves 8

This lovely, refreshing salad plays well with the spiciness of chile con queso and calabacitas. Spinach and sweet butter and leaf lettuces go especially well with the peaches, but a few handfuls of pungent or bitter greens such as arugula, watercress, radicchio, frisee, mizuna, tatsoi, or any of the chicories are good additions. The peach vinegar is easy to prepare and great to have on hand for all kinds of salads.

10 to 12 cups salad greens
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into thin slices
2 or 3 ripe peaches or nectarines
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup peach vinegar (see recipe below) or 3 to 4 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/4 cup pepitas (toasted, salted pumpkin seeds)

1. First, prepare the peach vinegar and set aside.

2. Wash, pick over, and dry salad greens. Soak onion slices in ice water for about 20 to 30 minutes to sweeten the onion’s flavor. Slice peaches and drizzle them with peach vinegar or lemon juice to prevent darkening.

3. In a small bowl or pitcher, combine olive oil and peach vinegar; season with salt and pepper, and blend well with a fork.

4. Arrange salad greens on a platter or in a shallow bowl. Gently squeeze the onions and pat them dry. Arrange the peach slices over the greens and scatter the onions over them. Garnish with the pepitas just before serving. Pass the dressing.

Peach Vinegar
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups white wine or rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 large ripe peach, diced

1. Bring vinegar to a simmer in a nonreactive pan. Stir in the sugar to dissolve. Add vanilla bean and peach. Return to a simmer, cover, and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

2. The vinegar will keep for about a week with the peaches in it. To store it longer, strain to remove the peaches, pressing lightly to remove the essence, and transfer to a glass container with the vanilla bean. This will keep in a cool place for 6 months.