Oh summer fruit! It is simply delicious. So I had a few nectarines that were about to go bad in my pantry and I was craving a sweet, salty, and acidic dish. Well this salad has all those flavors. It is a perfect palate balance of 3 distinct flavors and talk about how nutritious it is as well.
When we eat, we eat for texture and flavor. There are 5 flavors we can identity: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. The more flavors in a dish the more we tend to like it. The reason being is because the flavors hit different parts of our tongue, which then triggers different parts in our brain. When you eat something sweet you release certain neurotransmitters in the brain, releasing a sense of pleasure when you consuming something sweet. In the case of the salad the ripe nectarines fulfill that role. Fruit is nature's candy!
The bitterness in the dish comes from the dark greens. It is contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the fruit. The umami, which is considered the 5th taste is a meat-like taste. Parmesan cheese falls in this category. Giving the dish a very hearty and meaty complexity. The sour is from the balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar actually falls into 2 categories, sour and sweet. The longer the age of the balsamic the sweeter it is, and this one happens to be on the sweeter side, yet still with a hint of sour.
So when composing a dish make sure you try to incorporate as many flavors as possible. It makes the dish more exciting, different, and you are bound to enjoy it much more!
Yields 2 servings
2 ripe nectarine - sliced or diced
Dark Leafy Greens or a Mesclun Mix
1/3 cup roasted cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup or so shaved Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of fresh basil - torn
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Drizzle balsamic vinegar
2-3 hard boiled eggs - halved and diced
Salt + Pepper
Previously roast the tomatoes at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until they blister.
To hard boil the eggs, place the eggs in a sauce pan just covered with water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. The vinegar helps for the shell to peel easily. Bring the pot to a simmer. Cover the pot, turn the heat off and let it cook for 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the salad. Cut the nectarine and shave the Parmesan. Assemble the salad.
Once the eggs are cooked, run them under cold water and peel the shell. Pat them dry and cut as desired. Place them on the salad, season with salt and pepper and gently toss.
Now add the olive oil and half of the balsamic drizzle. Toss gently.
Serve the salad, finish with a few more shavings of Parmesan and a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar over each salad and enjoy.