Before becoming Orange Coast’s Senior Editor/Style, Chris Christensen was food editor of The Oregonian in Portland, and, earlier, of the Press-Telegram in Long Beach. We all benefit from this expertise when she happens across an intriguing ingredient. Even just reading, it’s easy to imagine the incredible fragrance of this salad.
Inspired by the peach white balsamic vinegar I picked up at We Olive over the weekend, and some ingredients I had on hand, I came up with my new favorite summer salad.
The vinegar, one of few flavored balsamics to win me over, is a delight—fresh peach flavor with warm honey overtones—that begs for fruit salads to wrap its flavor notes around. My fridge produced watermelon, oranges, mint, and feta, so I went to work on a salad that I served with a slab of grilled coho salmon, and Israeli couscous tossed with zucchini and sweet onion I grilled in a mesh basket alongside the fish.
We Olive’s Debby Brooks, who co-owns the Costa Mesa and Long Beach (Belmont Shore) stores with husband Phil, says the vinegar, made in Modena, Italy (as are all the authentic and most delicious balsamics), was intended as a seasonal item but was so popular the store decided to stock it indefinitely. Unfortunately, it’s only available at the Belmont Shore location (no room to stock it at the OC Mart Mix outpost). It’s $1.25 an ounce, or $23 for a 12.75-ounce bottle (it’s extra for the bottle, but it can be refilled for $16). Or you can order at We Olive’s online shop.
For dessert tonight, I think I’ll fold some lightly sweetened fresh peach slices, plus a good handful of Trader Joe’s roasted, salted pecans, into my favorite vanilla ice cream, then lightly drizzle the balsamic over. Sweet, salty, creamy, tangy…
I think it’s time for a second bottle.—Chris Christensen, Senior Editor
Watermelon-Orange Salad With Peach White Balsamic
(Makes 4 servings)
¼ small seedless watermelon, cut in 1½-by-1-inch thin slices
1 large navel orange, peeled, pith removed, and sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 ounces feta, roughly crumbled, or to taste
1 tablespoon peach white balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Arrange watermelon slices on a pretty platter, artfully topping them with the orange slices. Sprinkle on the mint, the crumbled feta, and the vinegar. Lightly embellish with fine sea salt and freshly grated black pepper.