PEACH PASSION SALAD

PEACH PASSION SALAD with peaches, boston lettuce, raspberry vinaigrette, from SIGNS & SEASONS, our Astrology Cookbook (HarperCollins).

Best made when the peaches are local and ripe, soft, sensuous and sweet, this summery salad makes a marvelous after-course, easily taking the place of dessert.

The peach is a symbol of longevity and good luck. “You’re a real peach” originated from the tradition of giving a peach to the friend you liked. Make this salad for someone you like, and we are sure they will like you back!

Serves 4.

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons raspberry tarragon vinegar (see recipe below)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup fresh raspberries

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 large ripe peaches, preferably 1 white, 1 yellow

1 head Boston lettuce

4 ounces Saint Andre, Explorateur or other soft, creamy cheese

1 cup shredded or torn radicchio

Place the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, raspberries, salt and pepper in small sauce pot and warm on very low heat to dissolve the honey. Allow the raspberries to melt slightly.

Drop the peaches into rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds. Run them under cold water and slip off their skins. Cut them in half, remove the pits and cut the halves into crescent slices.

Discard the outer leaves of the lettuce. Cut away the core and wash the inner leaves. Spin, then pat them dry. Tear them coarsely. In a large bowl, toss them with the radicchio and enough dressing to coat.

Divide the lettuce onto four plates. Place a dollop or small wedge of cheese in the center. Arrange the peach slices in a circle around it, alternating yellow and white. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.

To make your own Raspberry Tarragon Vinegar Infusion:

8 ounces good-quality white-wine vinegar

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1/8 cup fresh tarragon leaves and stems, bruised slightly

1/2 tablespoon honey

Place the vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan over low heat until warm. Place the raspberries and tarragon in a sterilized, wide-mouthed jar. Pour in the warm vinegar. Seal tight. Let stand in a warm place for two weeks.

Strain the vinegar, pressing the raspberries firmly. Place in a nonreactive saucepan with the honey and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a sterilized bottle and seal. Keep refrigerated.

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