Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Pickled Shallot Salad

Since returning home from Chateau de Gudanes in the south of France I’ve been dreaming about, and missing, the intensely flavoured and perfumed fruit of the area.

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The heirloom tomatoes were extraordinary. I’ve never tasted anything quite like them, and the stone fruit, every bite a joy. It was produce at its best, seasonal, ready to be enjoyed without elaborate preparation, or presentation.

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With these culinary delights stuck in my head, and although tomatoes and peaches are out of season here at the moment, I couldn’t help buying a couple of each at the market on the weekend to make this salad.

Beautifully fragrant and fresh, it was almost like being back in France, but not quite.

Enjoy.

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Serves 4

  • 2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 ripe yellow peaches
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Cider vinegar
  • 2-3tbsp baby basil leaves
  • 2tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp runny honey
  • 1tsp lemon thyme leaves
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Put shallot into a small glass jar, just cover with cider vinegar, add a teaspoon of salt, put on lid, shake and leave for half an hour to pickle.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and thyme leaves together, seasoning well with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

 Cut the tomatoes and peaches into wedges; place them on a serving dish, dress with about half the vinaigrette (leave the rest for another day), scatter with the drained pickled shallot, and the basil leaves. Serve immediately.