Anyone else out there as smitten with summer fruit as I am? Particularly peaches. I’m sure I could become a fruitarian every summer. Colorado’s western slope grows full orchards of this succulent fruit. They are shipped all across the state, and are abundantly found in local farmer markets. I love using summer fruit in savory cooking, and late summer peaches are perfect for cool evenings on the deck in warm and toasty dishes.
A reinvention of the classic caprese, this lovely salad is made from peaches grown in Western Colorado’s peach and wine country. Crunch and a bit of coziness is added with lightly breaded and fried mozzarella slices, making this the perfect dish to transition from late summer into fall as days get shorter and temperatures drop.
3 peaches, de-seeded, and sliced into 1/2″ thick slices, either in rounds, or slices
1/2 lb (8oz) mozzarella cheese ball, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups seasoned panko bread crumbs
Vegetable Oil, enough to fill bottom of a heavy pan to 1/2″
Large handful of fresh basil leaves (save a few for the final dish)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt (I use sel gris which is a French sea salt)
Dash of garlic seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Slice the fresh peaches, set aside.
2. To make the basil vinaigrette, place basil leaves, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic seasoning into a food processor. With the machine running, blend all ingredients. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Process until the dressing is emulsified, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Place flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs into 3 separate dishes or bowls. Ensure the mozzarella slices are dry. Working with one slice at a time, dredge in flour (shake off excess), coat in egg, and dip in panko, pressing gently to adhere. In a small heavy pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high until a pinch of breadcrumbs dropped into the oil sizzles and floats to the top. Fry a few slices at a time until lightly golden brown, 30 seconds per side. Remove slices to paper towels to drain.
4. To assemble caprese dish, alternate peach slices with fried mozzarella and basil leaves, making a circle or a row on the plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve!
Enjoy!! Happy Eating!