I thought I’d have to save this recipe for next year, but summer is not over yet! Even though Labor Day has passed, you can still get fresh peaches at the farmers markets here in New York City. I’m not eating winter squash, sweet potatoes, or any other vegetables that will last through the cold months until summer’s bounty is gone.
I made this salad while visiting my fake aunt in Hudson and Chatham, NY. Just two hours up the Hudson River on Amtrak, Hudson is a quaint little city that is gaining attention for luring big city chefs to set up restaurants along Warren Street and the surrounds. I had some incredibly fresh oysters and gazpacho from the white-napkined Swoon Kitchenbar and delicious pizza from a food truck at the back of a gravel parking lot-cum-food garden just across the street. There are pricey antique stores and Cape Cod style architecture brought whalers from Martha’s Vineyard who resettled along the Hudson.
It’s no wonder that the city which plays headquarters to Modern Farmer magazine has an excellent farmers market. Every Saturday from 9 to 1 local purveyors sell everything from pearl onions to sausages, locally brewed beer, wildflowers, and homespun yarn. Even though it was her first visit, my aunt seemed to know half of the people there. And I even recognized the farm where we bought potatoes – they travel south each week to sell at Columbia University’s greenmarket. We collected our groceries from throughout the lot and prepared a meal that night with meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables sourced entirely from the market.
I had been dreaming about life a little more rural. Watching movies like The River Why and Into the Wild, I needed another escape from the overheated monotony of city life. Chatham is a simple town with roadside farmstands and diners like The Cottage Restaurant that balance outdated interiors with incredible homemade breads. And the serenity! My aunt’s property has fields and flowers, rolling hills and bales of hay, simple ponds, deer, bees, and, above all. quiet! I took the photos below on my last morning there amidst complete silence. What an escape!
|This is the largest of the barns on the property – and it is massive! There are three connected sections that each have multiple stories.|
|My aunt is now dressing up the interior of the largest section for farmhouse lunches. With the sun peering in through the old windows, isn’t it adorable?|
|From the highest hill, you can see the Catskill Mountains to the East, across the Hudson River.|
|Almost ready to bloom!|
|Have milkweed, they will come. My fake aunt’s land has a huge field of milkweed which makes it a perfect rest stop along the monarch butterfly’s migration each year.|
|Vines with blooms of all colors wrap the porch out near the swimming pond.|
|My early morning selfie from the swimming pond pier. Smiles.|
Pickled Peach and Fennel Salad
This salad was inspired by a salad featuring luscious burrata cheese in Bon Appetit. We couldn’t find any burrata at the market, but we did find a local dairy with creamy and tart goat cheese laced with fennel seeds. Even though it was served alongside a variety of grilled sausages, this salad stole the show of our small dinner out on the porch. Give it a try while peaches are still in season.
2 peaches, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
fresh ground black pepper
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 small red onion or fresh pearl onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound of arugula or bitter greens
handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toss peaches with vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Add fennel, onions, arugula and mint to a large salad bowl. Break apart goat cheese and sprinkle over greens. Just before you’re ready to serve, add peaches, drizzle olive oil and toss to combine.