When Farmer Jane of Farmer Dave’s said that they would have a lot of watermelon, peaches, and tomatoes, I typed those words into a search engine and voila! I discovered that Watermelon, Peach, and Tomato Salad is a “thing.” That was easy! I made a few changes from the original recipe created by Anne Byrn for The Old Mill to keep things dairy and nut-free, and left out fresh basil and mint since none of the former was available and not much of the latter. But truly, the produce shines on its own. Just add or adjust ingredients to suit your taste.
Here are the ingredients from the original recipe with my changed noted in parentheses:
6 cups seedless watermelon chunks, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups good, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sliced, peeled ripe peaches
6 cups fresh arugula or your favorite salad greens (I used a bunch chopped small for sample servings)
4 tablespoons olive oil (I used 2 T)
1 1/2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar (I used 1 T)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil, or a combination (if desired)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (if desired)
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds (if desired or use other toppings)
Place the watermelon and tomatoes in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Toss to coat, and let the fruit sit for 30 minutes. Drain well.
Fold the peaches into the watermelon and tomato mixture. To serve, spoon the fruit on top of the salad greens. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Garnish the top with chopped fresh herbs, feta cheese, and toasted almonds. NOTE: I drained again after adding the peaches, and at least once more time during the demo. Note to self – save the liquid. It will make great base for a mixed drink!
Here are some handy notes excerpted from/based on those in the original recipe:
Use fresh, ripe fruits of any color and sprinkle the watermelon and tomatoes with a little kosher salt ahead of time. It not only draws out the moisture, but it intensifies the flavor of the fruit.
Prepare ingredients separately. Once you are ready to serve, pile the watermelon, peaches, and tomatoes on top of your favorite lettuce, sprinkle with the oil, vinegar and fresh herbs, and then garnish with the feta and almonds, if using the latter two.
Don’t have feta? Use cubes of fresh mozzarella. Or use toasted pecans instead of the almonds. And if you don’t have basil or mint, use what you have – chives, dill, or parsley. There could not be a more adaptable, stunning, and easy-to-fix salad that salutes the end of summer in a big way.
This really is a lovely recipe as written or as a basis for your own ideas or available ingredients. The stars of the recipe should be available from our farmers for at least a few more weeks, so keep this one in mind to enjoy it with the freshest of fruits and greens.