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Recipe: Peach & Pancetta Salad

Recipe: Peach & Pancetta Salad

Peaches are the ultimate Summer fruit and it doesn’t get much better than this salad for a suggestion of sunshine and sweetness.  The juicy, perfumed peaches perfectly balance with the crisp salty pancetta and creamy smoothness of the feta.  Enjoy as a weekday meal or side dish, with a BBQ or try it next time you’re asked to bring a plate.

Peaches are so versatile, they can be eaten raw, baked, grilled or sautéed and are easily incorporated into warm and cold dishes.  They come in many varieties, both white and yellow in colour.  The white peaches tend to be sweeter and the yellow ones a little more tart.

When selecting peaches, opt for ones that are firm-ish or only have a little give, as they will continue to ripen.  If too hard, leave them at room temperature for a day or two.  Once ripe, it’s best to eat them or store them in the fridge to avoid over-ripening.

Peaches are a great addition to the diet as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They can aid digestion (thanks to containing a healthy mix of soluble and insoluble fibre) and are beneficial for both the immune and nervous system.  Their ability to moisturise the skin has seen them included in many anti-aging cosmetics.  Despite their delicious, sweet taste, peaches are actually a lower-sugar fruit and they contain no fat.

You can also substitute nectarines in this recipe, which are the smooth-skinned cousin of the peach with a very similar taste and texture.  Whether you use peaches or nectarines, try to leave the skin on as you’ll benefit from additional nutrients that way.

Ingredients

  1 tablespoon butter
  100g pancetta
  2 medium sized peaches
  150g feta*
  1 cup baby endive leaves, torn
  3 cups rocket

*Note: Danish feta is smoother than Greek feta and tends to work better in this recipe.  Australian feta has a texture somewhere in between Danish and Greek.

Vinaigrette

  4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1 teaspoon mustard
  1 teaspoon sugar
  6 tablespoons olive oil
  Salt and pepper

 

Method

1. Add all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and whisk. Set aside.
2.  Melt the butter in a small frypan and add the pancetta. Fry until crisp and set aside on paper towel. Once cool, break into shards.
3.  De-stone the peaches and cut into thin segments approximately 0.5-1cm thick.
4.  Cut or break the feta into small pieces.
5.  To serve, toss baby endive and rocket leaves with the vinaigrette. Then top with feta, slices of peach and crispy shards of pancetta.