Romney Steele’s Heirloom Tomatoes and Peaches with Burrata

From the story The Peachy Time of Year

Photo by Cheryl Angelina Koehler

This salad recipe, adapted from my second cookbook, Plum Gorgeous, is one I look forward to serving each summer at The Cook and Her Farmer, my restaurant in Oakland. I continue to adore the salad for everything it is—simple, elegant, and full of bright flavors, and for everything it’s not—fancy, fussy, and difficult to put together. It features burrata, a buttery soft, fresh cheese akin to mozzarella but filled with cream, which pairs beautifully with the peaches and tomatoes. It’s also one of the best ways I know to show off old-fashioned peaches like the Elbertas we picked at Masumoto Farm in 2006.

—Romney Steele, The Cook and Her Farmer, Oakland,

Serves 4 to 6

1½ pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into even-sized pieces
3 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced into wedges
8 ounces burrata cheese (about 1 ball), at room temperature
A handful of basil leaves (opal or piccolo verde fino),
whole or sliced into chiffonade
2 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange tomato and peach slices on a platter or in a shallow bowl. Tear the burrata into chunks and scatter over top along with the basil and most of the tarragon leaves. Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil, then gently bruise the reserved tarragon leaves to release their oils and add them to the vinaigrette. Let marinate for a few minutes, then add a pinch of salt and drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt to taste.