A couple of years ago while eating freshly picked peaches I had this urge to eat them with some creamy ricotta cheese. I’m not sure where the craving came from. Sometimes these things just strike me, but eating the bright and sweet peach I could not stop thinking of ricotta cheese. As it should be I had some ricotta in my refrigerator. I tried the two together and it was sublime. To me it had a more savory appeal then the sweet approach of the traditional peaches and cream. That night I pared up a plate of arugula, peaches, toasted nuts, some balsamic dressing, and along the side: a scoop of ricotta cheese. Brian & I loved it . I often made the salad when peaches were in season for lunch at our bakery. Over time I have tweaked the exact combo of this salad, but this is the version that we enjoy the most. With some super ripe doughnut peaches Brian picked up from the farmer’s market I had to make this for dinner. It was just as scrumptious as always. If you get your hand on some ripe peaches you will have to try it out yourself.
Peach, Ricotta, Arugula,& Grain Salad (Serves 4)
4-5 peaches (depending on their size); peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 bunch of arugula; washed well, trimmed, and chopped if needed
15 oz container of whole, or part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup of wheat berries or faro, simmered in water until tender
Scant ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar (aged at least 5 years), for drizzling
Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
**Note: this is the time to use a really bright and fruity tasting olive oil. The better olive oil you use the more the flavor of your peaches and ricotta will pop in your mouth.
First, on each plate; arrange all the components to your salad. I like to group them- peaches, arugula, your grain, and a small sprinkle of pine nuts.
Then, gently scoop some of your ricotta neatly onto the plate. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over it all just barely coating your ingredients.
Finally, give it all a generous sprinkle of the sea salt and fresh black pepper and serve.