My current favorite summer appetizer. There is no better way to celebrate the warm weather bounty, juicy plump peaches and succulent bursting heirloom tomatoes off the vine are just divine right now. Yes, this probably seems like an odd pairing. But peaches, plums, and sweet tomatoes are like a match made in heaven. Trust me. One bite of this sweet juicy salad over creamy savory cheese and you'll be hooked.
Stone Fruit and Heirloom Salad with Savory Goat Cheese Spread
Stone fruits and tomatoes, especially with the skins removed, have a pleasantly similar texture but, will totally surprise you with their flavors. Although optional, the technique I used to remove the skins is the absolute best way to handle any tender fruits with respect and ease. So you don't totally mangle them with your knife when you attempt to peel. This way you wont see any of the knife cuts. 'Concasse' or 'blanching and shocking' is also an excellent skill to have in your kitchen repertoire.
Concasse is a culinary technique that starts with scoring a fruit and blanching it in boiling water then shocking in an ice bath. This technique is extremely useful to soften delicate fruit skins like peaches and tomatoes enough to peel them off like a glove off your hand. Often used in traditional french cooking before crushing or chopping the fruit. You may also want to use this method to prepare peaches and tomatoes for baking, pies, jams, chutneys, sorbet, or any other way you want to use peeled fruit. This technique works for plums as well, but plum skin tends to crackle a bit, so don't be alarmed. The skin will break up a bit but it is still easier to peel than if you hadn't blanched them.
So the Savory Goat Cheese Spread... addictive. I originally was calling is "Herbed" Goat Cheese Spread but I got laughed at because apparently "herbed" is not a word...? What? Who says you cant herb something. I am calling BS. Can anyone relate?
Anyways... spread it on crackers, toast, a sandwich, throw chunks in a salad, make a dressing out of it, its soooo versatile and oh so yummy. All you need to so is mix plain goat cheese with red onion, lemon, and a whole bunch of herbs.
Not a fan of goat cheese? I've made this same spread with lots of different cheeses! Yogurt cheese, fresh ricotta or cream cheese are excellent alternatives to the goat cheese here. There are also herb substitutions listed at the bottom of the recipe, in case you need them. Let face it, no one likes to have to make a last minute grocery run for one thing in a recipe. I get it. Interchange fresh or dry as much as you'd like as well.
You don't need to get crazy with measurements with this. The only important step is to season this recipe thoroughly and TASTE AS YOU GO! This salad is such a show stopper for so little work. I am telling you, if your mouth isn't watering from this photo I will be shocked.
Stone Fruit & Heirloom Salad with Savory Goat Cheese Spread
1 Large Ripe Peach
1 Medium Plum
1 to 3 Small Heirloom Tomatoes
Lemon Juice (Freshly Squeezed)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flaky Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
Fresh Herbs for Garnish
Goat Cheese Spread
Bring one small pot of water to a boil. Set aside a bowl of ice water.
Score the bottoms of the fruit in a small X shape.
Drop the scored fruit in boiling water for exactly 1 minute then transfer to the ice bath for 1 minute more.
Peel the skins from the fruit and discard. Cut the fruit into small wedges.
Toss fruit in a bowl with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine goat cheese, onion, lemon, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, thyme, dill and sweetener until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble; Spread goat cheese mixture on a decorative plate, scatter fruit along the top and garnish with fresh herbs.
Steps 1-4 are optional but result in a much more appealing texture.
Feel free to multiply this recipe for a crowd.
You may use any of the following fresh herbs in this recipe: dill, fennel fronds, tarragon, parsley, chives, oregano or thyme.
Be sure to season thoroughly throughout this recipe. This will move the salad into a savory direction rather than sweet.