This Discover Cooking with California Olive Oil recipe contest submission comes from Marilyn O’Neill, a We Olive La Jolla customer. Marilyn tell us, “This is a summer take on a classic bread salad, a nice way to use the season’s beautiful peaches roasted to bring out their flavor and tomatoes and basil at their peak. It takes advantage of We Olive Lemon Olive Oil and Peach White Balsamic Vinegar used in three different ways (for roasting, sauteeing, and as a vinaigrette!) to enhance the fresh summer flavors and adds a sharp bite of French feta. You can make the recipe your own in lots of ways by substituting burrata or a nice blue cheese for the feta, cashews or pecans for the pine nuts, and any stone fruit or a mix of them for the peaches.”
1/3 cup We Olive Lemon Olive Oil for dressing + 3T for browning bread and a drizzle for roasting peaches
1/2 teaspoon meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons We Olive Peach White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper
7-8 cups of cubed French bread
2 large ripe tomatoes, large dice (I used beefsteak since they hold their shape well in the salad)
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, large dice
1/4 cup of chiffonade strips of basil leaves
2-3 large peaches, roasted if not completely ripe, then diced
1/4 -1/2 cup French feta – to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1. Heat 3T of the lemon oil in a large sauté pan over low-medium to medium heat. Toss the bread cubes and 1 teaspoon of the salt with the oil and cook until nicely browned. Give them a toss periodically, set aside the pan when browned.
2. While the bread is toasting, split the peaches in half, drizzle with a little lemon oil and roast at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a little soft and fragrant (longer is fine if you are starting with firmer fruit) – this works nicely if you prefer apricots or nectarines too. You can skip this step if you have ripe peaches or other stone fruit and don’t want to turn the oven on in summer.
3. Whisk the 1/3 cup of lemon oil with the lemon juice, dijon, peach white balsamic vinegar, minced basil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and black pepper to make the vinaigrette and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix the diced tomatoes, peppers, and the peaches (if you like them, you could add onions here too, I’m allergic so skipped them). Add the toasted bread cubes and toss with about 2/3-3/4 of the vinaigrette to start. Should be coated but not soggy, add more if needed. You will likely have some dressing leftover which is great on anything. Fold in most of the basil strips and feta, reserve some of each for serving.
5. Mix the pine nuts and sugar in a small sauté pan on medium heat. Watch over the pan and stir from time to time until the sugar starts to melt, once it starts to melt, don’t wander off, keep stirring until the sugar is all melted and coats the nuts, they will also start browning a little. Turn out onto parchment, spread to a single layer of nuts, and let cool for a few minutes. Break them up for serving.
6. When serving, top salad with some of the glazed nuts, reserved basil strips, and feta.
Notes: This is a really flexible recipe and can be easily tailored to you personal favorites and whatever looks best at the market. The leftover dressing is great on a quick chicken and spinach salad or pretty much anything else! The flavors of the peach vinegar and lemon oil make anything a bit brighter!