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From the August 2007 edition of Sunset magazine: "Valerie likes to make this refreshing version of the classic Italian salad at the height of summer, 'when everyone is sick of tomatoes.' If your plates aren't white, she says, start your layering with the mozzarella--its creamy paleness will look pretty against a color." Nutrition facts: 481 cal, 342 fat cal, 21g protein, 38g fat, 22g sat, 10g carb, 1.7g fiber, 922mg sodium, 80mg chol.
- 1⁄2 tablespoon Madras curry powder
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup champagne vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon honey, mild
- 4 -8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, preferably buffalo's milk (see Notes)
- 4 large peaches, firm, ripe, rinsed but not peeled (yellow or white)
- 10 -12 sprigs fresh mint
- 10 -12 sprigs fresh basil
- sea salt or kosher salt, coarse
- black pepper, freshly ground
- In a dry (not non-stick) skillet, toast curry powder over medium heat stirring constantly until fragrant, a shade darker, and just starting to smoke, 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool briefly. Whisk in olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Set aside.
- Slice mozzarella into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and set aside. Peel peaches, cut in half lengthwise, and remove pits. Set each half flat on cutting board and slice into 1/2-in-thick half-moons; set aside. Pluck mint and basil leaves from stems and set aside.
- Set out 8 small plates or flattish bowls and build a loose tower of salad on each: Lay a couple of pieces of peach in center, top with a leaf or two of mint and basil, drape on a piece of mozzarella, or repeat layering 2 or 3 times. Top each stack with 2 peach slices and a sprig of mint. Drizzle with curry vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and scatter a few mint and basil leaves on each plate.
- Notes: Use good peaches, and splurge on a buffalo mozzarella if you can--it's creamier and tangier than cow's-milk mozzarella, and it really elevates this salad. (It's very perishable, though, so check the sell-by date and use it fast.) You can make the vinaigrette up to a week ahead; mozzarella, peaches, and herbs can be prepared the morning of the party and kept in the refrigerator (toss peaches with a bit of vinaigrette to prevent browning; drain cheese in a colander before plating).