Six thousand years is a long time to wait! According to Chinese mythology, the immortals gathered once every 6000 years to partake of the Feast of Peaches. They consumed peaches from a sacred tree that blossomed only once every 1,000 years and took 3,000 years to ripen. The sacred peaches were believed to confer longevity and to this day peaches have become of symbol of unity and immortality in Chinese culture.
Peaches have a long history, beginning approximately 1,000 BCE, when they were first cultivated in China and then traveled westward along the silk road. Alexander the Great is credited for introducing the peach to the Greeks. As Rome’s power increased, they adopted many aspects of Greek culture including the cultivation of peaches, which they referred to as a Persian apple. Like many other traditions and products, invading Romans introduced the peach throughout their vast European empire. The Spanish, in turn, brought the peach to the Americas. Today, China and Italy are still the largest producers of peaches!
Peaches are my favorite fruit and I look forward to peach season in SC every year. I credit this love of peaches to my mom, who loves to telI a story of her consuming an entire bag of peaches at a Georgia farmer’s market during her pregnancy with me. Today, I patiently line up at various farmer’s markets and stands to bring home buckets of peaches (and yes any ripe ones are consumed on the spot). I love incorporating them into breakfast bowls, sauces, salads, and beverages. For this recipe, I paired the delicate sweetness of peaches with miso and basil for a delightful sweet and savory combination. This is a very easy, healthy, fresh vinaigrette to prepare and is perfect for a summer salad or add grains and serve as a main meal. Simply toss together vinaigrette, peaches, arugula, radicchio, mixed greens, cucumbers, radishes, and top with soy sauce roasted almonds for a salty crunch and you have an incredible salad.
Basil, Leek, & Miso Vinaigrette
- 1 1/2-2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp miso paste (I typically use red.)
- 2 baby leeks (or 1 large) trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 fresh peaches sliced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce roasted almonds*
- 2 small cucumbers diced
- 1 cup radish slices
- Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. If vinaigrette is too thick add a bit of water until reach desired consistency.
- Use your favorite mixed greens or arugula. Toss with vinaigrette. Top with peaches, cucumbers, radish, and crushed soy sauce roasted almonds. For a main entree salad, add your favorite grain such as farro, kamut, or wheat berries.