I love myself a good salad! My husband often refers to me as his little rabbit due to all of the leafy greens I consume. But I assure you, the salads I create are far from rabbit food! It is a rare day when I am not enjoying a salad. They are colorful, healthy, and you can get so creative with the ingredients that it never gets boring. As the seasons change, I make it a point to incorporate the produce that the current season has to offer. It’s a fun way to try new things when they are at their peak!
One of the most notable fruits of summer is of course the peach! Did you know that peaches originated in China? The Chinese consider peaches a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity. Of course peaches are cultivated all over the world now. Thank goodness for that! These stone fruits are irresistible. Summer just would be the same without those peach pies and cobblers. Don’t you agree?
As far as peaches go, we have our traditional yellow peach, the sweet white peach, freestone peaches, clingstone peaches, donut peaches, and nectarines. Yellow peaches are probably the most popular peach in the U.S. They are also more acidic than white peaches, giving them a little more tang. White peaches (my personal favorite), are more popular in Asia. They have a sweeter flavor with a lower acidity level, as well as a smooth, firm texture when compared to the yellow peach.
A freestone peach is one where the flesh does not stick to the pit. They tend to be large and not as juicy, making them ideal for eating out of your hand. Clingstone peaches are just the opposite. The flesh of the peach sticks to the pit. They are softer, sweeter, and juicier which makes them great for baking, canning, and preserving. For the most part, you are more likely to see freestone peaches in your local grocery store.
Donut peaches are an heirloom variety which has gained some popularity over the recent years. They are small, cute, and easy to eat from your hand. They have a lower acidity level and a nice sweetness to them. Nectarines are technically a variety of peach. Their main difference is pretty obvious…no peach fuzz! They taste very similar to a yellow peach, with maybe a slightly lighter flavor. Nectarines also have a yellow and white variety. Are you hungry for peaches yet? I am!
So let’s talk about this salad and then you can be on your way to enjoying some peaches in a delicious and healthy way. Of course we all know that kale is a powerful leafy green. I love using kale in a salad because kale doesn’t get soggy like other leafy greens. This makes it a great option for a salad you can make it advance, which I love during these busy summer days! And leftovers, no problem. Just store them in your refrigerator and you have got a nice lunch waiting for you the next day. I prefer a lightly dressed salad, not heavily doused. When you shop the seasons and get produce at its peak, don’t you want to taste what you are eating? I know I do! So really, the only dressing this salad requires is a little mixture of olive oil and apple cider vinegar that is massaged into the kale to soften it up a bit. Of course you get a little tang with that, which complements the other ingredients nicely. If you prefer a more heavily dressed salad, just double my dressing measurements, or you can always use the dressing of your choice.
Combining some sliced fennel, shallots, and some chopped nuts adds additional character to this summer special! Those ingredients not only shine in flavor, but are also nourishing. White peaches are featured in this recipe, but if you prefer another variety, that works! You can definitely make this salad in advance if needed. It makes a great side dish for your summer barbecue.
1 bunch of kale, stems removed, thinly chopped (variety of your choice)
1/4 cup fennel, thinly sliced (1 small bulb)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
2 white peaches, pits removed, thinly sliced
Optional: Feta crumbles
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup, honey, or sweetener of choice (optional)
pinch of salt
1) Slice kale into thin strips and chop in half if necessary. Place in a medium bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over kale, massaging kale thoroughly. Set aside.
2) Slice the fennel and shallot. Add to the kale and toss gently. Toss the nuts in.
3) Slice peaches. Put the kale mixture on your serving plate or in a serving bowl. Arrange peaches on the top. Enjoy this refreshing summer side dish!