There are some flavour combinations that one eyes with great suspicion (chocolate and bacon is one such example), but there are others that just make sense as soon as they are mentioned. Tomatoes and peaches. The idea kind of jars at first, though if you think about it the intrigue begins to take over. They're both fruits; they both come into season at around the same time; they are lovely with most summer herbs... So if you're a follower of the 'if it grows together, it goes together' rule, it just has to work.

And it does. The sweetness of the peaches enhances the sugar in the tomatoes, and there is just enough acidity to counterbalance the whole. Left unpeeled, the peaches' fuzziness adds a voluminous mouth feel, that is just perfect with the velvetiness of a ripe tomato. 

It's a simple summer combination that requires the least effort and input. You will need dead-ripe peaches and tomatoes: wash the fruits; cut into wedges; toss with slivers of fresh herbs; sprinkle with a few drops of vinegar, salt, and you're ready to go. A mild vinegar, such as white wine, cider or rice vinegar, is best suited to this salad. There is no need for oil since the fruits have enough body to give the impression of creaminess.  Serve at room temperature.

Any herb with sweet undertones will do: basil, from purple to green to lemon scented; mint; or lemon balm. Thyme and rosemary, used sparingly, are also lovely. My personal favourite is shiso, a Japanese herb that is sometimes called beefsteak plant, perilla, or even Japanese basil. It can be found in most Asian shops, though some herb growers will have them at their market stalls. The Japanese typically use green shiso raw, and reserve the purple variety for pickles, whereas the Vietnamese and Koreans seem to use the purple leaves exclusively. Shiso has a wonderful flavour that combines slightly camphorous notes with fresh chlorophyll, and the barest hint of anise to bring it some sweetness.

Bon app'!


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