I call this a “gazpacho” salad not because it looks like one, but because you can roughly purée any leftovers in a blender, chill it and you’ve got a delicious gazpacho. The dressing for this salad has orange juice in it, but when I have it on hand, I like to substitute a store-bought mango smoothie drink (like Odwalla). When you toss the salad with the dressing, taste the juices, and if they aren’t bright-tasting, add more balsamic vinegar or soy sauce. You can also add more mango drink if you need sweetness. Dress the salad close to serving to keep a nice texture, and remember to save some herbs for garnishing.
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (a mix of sizes—including cherries—and colors is nice)
1 pound ripe peaches
½ small red onion (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or mango smoothie drink, and more if needed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and more if needed
1 teaspoon soy sauce, and more if needed
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and more if needed
½ cup lightly packed small whole fresh mint and basil leaves
(or large ones torn into smaller pieces)
edible flowers, petals separated if large, for garnish (optional)
1. Core the large tomatoes and stem any cherry or tiny tomatoes. Cut the larger tomatoes into large, evenly sized pieces. To do this easily, first cut the tomatoes crosswise into thick slabs, and then cut the slabs into large dice (3⁄4 to 1 inch wide). If the tomatoes are very irregularly shaped, just cut them into wedges and then cut the wedges in half. Cut the cherry or tiny tomatoes in half (if small) or into quarters (if larger). Put all of the tomatoes into a large, shallow serving bowl.
2. Peel the peaches with a paring knife and slice them off the pit into wedges or chunks that are close in size to the tomato pieces. Add the peaches to the bowl. Slice the onion lengthwise as thinly as you can and add it to the bowl, too.
3. Whisk together the olive oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, lemon zest, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and peaches. Add half of the herbs, season with salt and toss gently but thoroughly. Taste the juices and add more vinegar, soy sauce and orange juice if you need to. (You can let the salad sit for a few more minutes and taste and season again if you like.)
Before serving, toss again and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and the flowers (if using).
Recipe reprinted with permission from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton (Chronicle Books, 2010).