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Peach & Arugula Caprese Salad from www.loveandoliveoil.com

We most often associate caprese salad, or insalata caprese (literally meaning Salad of Capri, an island off the coast of italy) with tomatoes. And in fact, it was originally intended to mimic the colors of the Italian flag with its red, white, and green elements.

Nowadays, pretty much anything that features fresh basil, mozzarella, and balsamic has become caprese. Whether it be with tomatoes but in a unique form (such as our favorite Caprese Pasta Salad) or something that replaces the tomatoes altogether, we still call it caprese. I guess it’s a more efficient way of titling something than saying Such and Such Salad with Basil, Mozzarella, Balsamic Vinegar, and Olive Oil. Caprese is much more efficient and is becoming familiar enough that most people know what to expect.

That’s not to say we’re going to stop twisting it. What’s next, caprese chocolate chip cookies?

Um, no. Not from me, at least.

Peach & Arugula Caprese Salad from www.loveandoliveoil.com

But this salad rightfully deserves to be called caprese, regardless of its notable lack of tomatoes.

Tomatoes and peaches are surprisingly similar and can often be used interchangeably. Treating a tomato as a fruit rather than a vegetable can produce surprising(ly delicious) results. When you think about, both fruits are sweet and tender summer fruits with thin skins and juicy flesh. Looking at a caprese salad with the fruit-like nature of the tomato in mind, substituting peaches makes perfect sense.

Peach & Arugula Caprese Salad from www.loveandoliveoil.com

Sometimes, real life is a bit messier than what you see in the pictures. I try to represent the food on this blog accurately and true-to-life, and felt that the cropped shots above didn’t quite show the whole picture.

You know when you start to re-organize and end up questioning every purchase you’ve ever made? Well, I recently did a major prop purge, getting rid of nearly 1/4 of what I own. The giveaway pile kept growing and growing and eventually took over our entire dining table for upwards of a week, leaving us with only a tiny square suitable for eating. I mean really, we get this lovely new table and then are barely able to use it? Alas, the dishes were all able to find new homes, and we have now reclaimed our reclaimed dining table.

While it feels good to clean house, to reduce the clutter and get rid of things I haven’t used in years, I still struggle with it. But I might NEED that super fragile and totally impractical glass milk carton for a post sometime in the not-so-near future! But that neon yellow polka dot plate that I’ve had for 5 years and never used just might be the perfect dish for that batch of hypothetical cupcakes I may/may not make 2 1/2 years from now.

Really, Lindsay. You’re more reasonable than that. For once, at least, I tried to be, and am doing my best to remember that these dishes went to good homes where they might actually be used, rather than just sitting and collecting dust and taking up shelf space that could be used for NEW things. Ah, yes. NEW things! Getting rid of old things totally means I’m justified in buying new things, right?

Peach & Arugula Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces (1/2 a bag) baby arugula
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large peach, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 4 ounces ciliegine or bocconcini mozzarella (small balls), halved or quartered

Directions:

  1. In a large salad bowl, toss arugula and basil with a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among serving bowls. Top with peach wedges and mozzarella balls and serve.
All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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