Oddity Salad

August 23, 2010

I don’t know why I decided to try this salad, because I was pretty sure that I was going to hate it.

See, I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t like to  mix her sweet and savory food. In my opinion, sweet food should be sweet and savory food should be savory, and never the twain shall meet.  It’s one of the reasons I dread the arrival of the autumn food magazines–fall is a sweet/savory circus.  A circus with a bunch of scary clowns.

I haven’t even gotten my first fall food rag yet, and I can already tell you what’s comin’. Pork chops with braised apples and raisins. Chicken with peach chutney. Lamb tagine with prunes and apricots. Seared duck with cherry sauce. BLARGGGHH, people! Sweet + savory = seven kinds of wrong!

But then this summer, I revisited this salad and found it delicious. I watched chefs on the Food Network make salads with watermelon, mint and feta that looked intriguing. And then I saw this recipe for Summer Peach and Tomato Salad in Cooking Light’s June issue and thought, “Maybe?”

I still was on the fence about it, but then on a trip to the grocery store (tangent: am I the only one who feels like she freaking lives at the grocery store?  All of the checkers at my grocery store know my name and, more disturbing, some of them even have nicknames for me. It’s odd and rather sad).  Ahem. Anyways, I was at my second home, Kroeger, when I walked past a pile of fragrant Palisade peaches. If you live in Colorado, you probably know the beauty of a Palisade peach–and the rarity. They’re only available for a month or so–two if you’re lucky–and they’re absolutely mind-blastingly delicious.

Palisade peaches are late coming out this year; in fact, I was worried that we’d miss them altogether. But there they were, seducing me with their smell, and the deal was sealed. Peach and Tomato Salad? We’re on.

Scanning the recipe again in my kitchen, I still didn’t see how this sucker was going to work. Peaches and onion?  Tomatoes and honey? I was slightly encouraged by the feta and basil–two ingredients that I swear make everything taste better, but still…

Well, this pessimist has to admit defeat. This salad rocks. I don’t know how or why, but it does. Now I must say that I think the success of this salad was contingent on truly awesome peaches and tomatoes–don’t try this if either of those items is mediocre. This is a salad that’s only going to bliss you out in dead summer, when the goods are at their peak.

Which is NOW, readers! Get in your car or on your bike or just plain hoof it down to the Farmer’s Market or the produce section and purchase the ingredients for this salad. If you can’t get rock-star peaches, nectarines will work nicely, so feel free to substitute. But really, try it.*

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

from Cooking Light magazine, June 2010

serves 8

1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion

3 ripe peaches, pitted and each cut into 8 wedges (about 1 pound)

1/2 pound heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges (or if you can’t find heirlooms, just get the best tomatoes you can find)

1/2 pound cherry or pear tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup small basil leaves or torn basil

Combine red onion, peaches, beefsteak and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over peach/tomato mixture and toss to coat.

Sprinkle with goat cheese and basil.

*Now just because sweet/savory works for me in a salad does NOT mean that I’m re-visiting fruit/meat combinations–Negatory! Just sayin’.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Contemporary Troubadour August 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm

My mouth is watering, Kitch. I’m trying to consume the last of a farmer’s market tomato haul (what’s left is getting dangerously soft) — this will be a lovely spin on the usual caprese! I wish I weren’t allergic to raw peaches. Maybe the slightest warming in the microwave will take care of the problem …


Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog August 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Just to be clear, you ARE coming over to prepare this for me, right? Because YUM but I hate grocery store shopping. HATE.


That said, your sweet/savory tastebuds haven’t met the deliciousness that is the blueberry duck I fell in love with a few y ears ago. Holy, holy batballs it is to DIE FOR. Gotta find that recipe…


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon August 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Hmmm, I love me some savory/sweet combos but I have to say that this one has me puzzled. Your picture looks mighty purty though.


Katybeth August 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I made the wild rice salad and we loved it. Served it with warm breadsticks. Since I now have feta, and basil leftover, I am going to try this salad as well..I am hoping for two in a row.



Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point August 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I bet it’s the feta that makes it rock! It’s a beauty.

I wish I could have 1/10th of your enthusiasm for going to the grocery store. I get confused, distracted and end up picking up things that weren’t on my list wihtout a recipe in mind for what I’d use those extra ingredients for.

I’ve never had a Palisade peach. Gimme gimme.


Lyndsey August 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I don’t know… I certainly feel the same way you do about mixing savory and sweet! I think the most I’ve done is the chopped salad with blue cheese and cinnamon praline pecans. I still can’t try the watermelon feta thingy salad!


Jen August 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

See, I am a big lover of the sweet and savory combo, I mean peanut butter, bacon and chocolate. Come on, that is one awesome flavor combo.

Anyway, this salad looks awesome. I think that I am going to have to try it. :)


Michelle August 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I wouldn’t have thought to combine peaches and tomatoes like that, but I’m all about giving it a go. Definitely like the feta cheese crumbled on top.


Jody August 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I just have to point out that your spinach strawberry salad also mixes sweet and savory. I mean, tomatoes are sweeter than spinach! Maybe you only like the combo in a salad.


Winn August 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Nice! It really is contingent on good ingredients. I imagine chocolate tomatoes would be heavenly in this salad too. Mmmmm!


Erica@PinesLakeRedhead August 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Well, I happen to love some sweet & savory action. Can we still be friends?

But tomatoes and peaches? I’m not really sold. We’ve even had some of the best ever nectarines this summer and I still can’t fathom it. I can buy the fruit and the onions together but the tomatoes kill the deal.

Oh yea, all the checkers at Publix know me too. I tell myself that’s why I no longer get carded.


Phoo-d August 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Mind blasting! =) Lol. I love that you’re finding the deliciousness of savory/sweet salads. Now if I could get you to add meat and a little bit of heat well then we could be in business! This looks like a terrific salad.


Jennifer August 23, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Our Texas peaches are already gone. :( I was so sad about it. They were so good while they lasted. I’ve been eating a lot more fresh fruit and I have no idea what I’m going to do now that it is starting to go away.


Corinne August 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm

My mother is the SAME way about sweet & savory foods staying separate. I didn’t even know you could mix the two until after I got to college :)


Aging Mommy August 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I like certain sweet and savory combinations like tagine or duck with cherries or pork with apricots but others I do not, such as pineapple which I love but cannot stand in anything savory and I absolutely hate sweet and sour sauce. This salad sounds so very odd but if you say it is good then I believe you :-)


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla August 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Oh my god, I actually have beefsteak tomatoes and peaches IN THE HOUSE right now. I’ll have to substitute shredded mozzarella, though. Hmmm.

Looks great. Sorry about the upcoming fall recipe season. November= turkey, turkey, turkey. Hooray, time to eat again. At least we’ll be able to hide weight gain under clothes, right?


Heather August 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm

ok… call me skeptical. I’m totally not feeling this one. But knowing your aversion to the whole sweet/savory combo and that you approve of this recipe intrigues me. My pear tomatoes are ripe and the peaches around here are amazing. I may just have to break down this weekend and try it out. Just don’t expect me to go into it with a smile on my face!


Christie @ Fresh Local and Best August 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I watched this video earlier and learned so much about nuances of certain wine styles, and most importantly that the red goes with meat while white goes with fish isn’t always true. These guys are truly talented.


TheKitchenWitch August 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Phoo-D…beautiful girl, you know I only bring out the “mind-blasting” for you! BEST, bro!


Christie @ Fresh Local and Best August 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Sorry about the last comment, it’s an example of multi-tasking failed. Pls. delete.
I like adding sweet and savory together because of the surprising flavors that can be created. This looks like a beautiful and colorful salad. I like the way you described the Palisade peaches, they sound intoxicating.


Amber August 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I am right with you–sweet and savory DO NOT MESH. Yet, the way you described this salad really makes my mouth water. Maybe I can find some fresh peaches and tomatoes somewhere in my home state.


Bryan August 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I have always liked walking that fine line between sweet and savory… but Ohh this looks so good! Quick side note, our friend, the infamous Mrs. A has always wished for access to a chocolate covered salt lick.


theUngourmet August 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I keep seeing peaches and tomatoes together and I have been a bit skeptical myself but….I trust your opinion on these things so I’m ready to give this salad a try. It certainly is a beautiful salad!


jc August 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm

This is a T’aint Salad. TAINT RIGHT! You are ruining RUINING peaches. I’m cutting you off if you stick blueberries and steak together.

Feel free to substitute alright… zucchini.


Tamar August 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I love it!

You know, in Israel they’ve been doing the watermelon-feta cheese forever. Except it’s not feta, but Bulgarian cheese, which is similar but not the same. If you have a store nearby where they sell Israeli products, go get it and let me know what you think. And skip the mint or basil — just watermelon and cheese.


Kelly August 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Yum! We have 2 lbs of fresh peaches sitting on the counter. I was going to make a peach gingersnap pie, but this is so much more my style.


Christine LaRocque August 24, 2010 at 4:04 am

Hello! Anything with feta has got to be good. I’m new to the whole “I like tomatoes thing,” and I’m still relatively shy about using them. This ALMOST tempts me.

And fall cooking…oh my GOD am I excited for fall cooking. But I’m even more excited for fall cooking and your blog. REALLY!!!


Paula August 24, 2010 at 4:33 am

Ok, I’m on my way to the grocery store tonight to get some good tomatoes and peaches. And yes, I also spend way to0 much time and money there ever since I started blogging. But they don’t know me by name. Maybe because I’m always trying to go incognito–as in “hope I don’t run in to anybody I know.”

Never thought much about the sweet/savory thing. I love sweet and salty. Is that kinda similar?

ps. I love the commentluv thing you’ve got on your blog.


elizabeth August 24, 2010 at 6:27 am

I’m surprisingly OK with some sweet/savory combinations, specifically figs with duck or chorizo (seriously, that last pairing is DYNAMITE), orange with chicken or duck, and apples with pork. M has even made mango-based sauces that are pretty good–but usually it requires a little bit of persuasion to get me to try it.


SuziCate August 24, 2010 at 6:55 am

Sounds interesting. Must say the taco salad (made it last night) rocked!


Sherri August 24, 2010 at 7:25 am

OK – I have to say…. I do love sweet and savory – though….. hubby is like you – does not like the two to mix. Will try this, though, because we are both huge feta, goat cheese and basil fans. You are on a salad roll, TKW! Love your analogies, btw – circus with scary clowns…. yes – I imagine that is how the sweet / savory looks to you “don’t mix’em” types as the magazine jump out at you from the grocery store aisles ;-). Said it before – will say it again – love your blog :-).


Gale August 24, 2010 at 7:52 am

Did you ever try the watermelon/feta combo? I saw a similar recipe (with a little olive oil and sans mint) and gave it a whirl and it was terrific! The watermelon moment has mostly passed by now (tear), but try it next year. Also, I must confess that I’m a huge fan of the sweet/savory combo. Pork and apples? Fish with mango salsa? Duck with a cherry reduction? Any day of the week, lady. Any day of the week! ;)


Cheryl @ Mommypants August 24, 2010 at 7:53 am

I want to like tomatoes. I do! Love spaghetti sauce and salsa. But a whole slice of tomato? Ack!


gigi August 24, 2010 at 8:32 am

I made something similar to this last year and it just didn’t “speak” to me. Of course, I don’t think it had feta, which makes everything perfect, IMO.


Pam August 24, 2010 at 9:36 am

This sounds great! I never would have thought of combining peaches and tomatoes and will have to try it! Bet it’s delicious!


Siren August 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

A circus with a bunch of scary clowns. I agree. I hate sweet/savory and I lack the sweet tooth just as you do. Know what I really hate? Strawberries or mandarin oranges in a salad. Barf o rama.

But i’ll take your word for it. Once in awhile these kinds of things are good. Cooking light also had a recipe for cucumber/melon salsa that was good on chicken. It had jalapenos and I omitted most of the other ingredients (like mint and agave nectar) and it was a good use of the 47 cucumbers overflowing my garden.


Mrs. Mayhem August 24, 2010 at 10:33 am

I’m not a fan of sweet and savory, either. But, I will trust your expert opinion and try this salad. :)

On a different topic, my basil patch has exploded. Any chance you could post a freezer-safe recipe that uses lots of basil??! You do take requests, don’t you?!!


Michele August 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

I’ll try this out. Like you, I am often skeptical of savory and sweet together. But I did recently try a watermelon salad that was delicious. Watermelon, lime, basil, jalepeno. The second time I made it I also added red onion and avocado. It was a huge hit at the bbq.

My issue lately has been finding good tomatoes. I keep buying ones that look amazing. They feel firm, and then when I actually cut into them they are squishy, and I HATE squishy tomatoes.


Justine August 24, 2010 at 11:22 am

When I first started reading this, I was totally thinking the watermelon/mint/feta/olive salad by Nigella and sure enough, you brought it up. No point here – just wanted to give myself a pat on the back for being smart/cool like you.

I’m all for the sweet and savory mix, although the Fall line-up doesn’t really appeal to me. Meat and fruit is pretty meh to me but it isn’t because of a distaste for the mix. I just like the mix to be a little more subtle, like sea salt on caramels that linger as an after taste, rather than hitting your tastebuds with a party of flavors.

I just walked over to my Farmer’s Market for 3 pounds of heirloom tomatoes and I can’t wait to dig into them!


Juliana August 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

I love this kind of salad…mixture of sweet, salt and sometimes spices…love the color and it is just perfect for a nice Summer day :-)


Jane August 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

Mouthwateringly delicious – the picture alone makes me salivate! Yes, I, too, am constantly in the grocery store. But now I’m sitting here wondering what nicknames the grocery checkers have for *you*! Please share!


K Odell August 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

sweet and savory do so go togther like bacon and chocolate. The salad looks delicious and healthy!


FatFighterTV August 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I’m the same way as you about mixing sweet and savory AND about feta and basil making everything better. ;)

I have found a couple of sweet/savory salads I like, so why not give this one a whirl? Thanks for sharing.


Barbara August 25, 2010 at 6:17 am

I try, try, try to only go to the grocery store once a week. But it’s a dream and will never happen. At least nobody knows my name …. a smile perhaps, but no nicknames. :)
It seems lots of salads combine savory and sweet…in the form of fruit…which I like.
Looks like a winner, TKW!


Tiffany August 25, 2010 at 6:40 am

Alright, twist my arm, I’ll try it. And this: “fall is a sweet/savory circus. A circus with a bunch of scary clowns.” you’re just hilarious…how you come up with this stuff is beyond me!!


Leslie August 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

Loved this salad! I’ve been intrigued by the watermelon-mint-feta combo, too, but I haven’t taken the plunge. It’s easier for me to start with a tangy sweet/savory friendship – the salty and sweet is harder for me to take.
I’m envious that your perfect peach season is still on – ours is short and sweet, too, and alas – over.


Alexandra August 25, 2010 at 7:56 am

What’s not to like her???



You speak my language, now, please come over??


Alexandra August 25, 2010 at 7:57 am

ooops…should say, “here” as in, what’s not to like HERE.



Evan @swEEts August 25, 2010 at 8:33 am

I’m with you.. I am usually a little hesitant with savory/sweet, but then whenever I actually try it I love it! This salad sounds interesting but again, something worth trying.. I’m also with you on the living in the grocery store- it never fails I’m there at least a couple times a week.


Heather of the EO August 25, 2010 at 8:38 am

I don’t know how you do it. Seriously, I think you might be super human. All the cooking and sharing of recipes and photographing and kiddos and life and WOW. I’m always amazed by your beautiful posts.


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