“The walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.”
– from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
We woke up this morning to grey skies awash with a light rain. The arrival of autumn is always bittersweet. Crisp mornings and cooler days, deep purple twilights, pots of tea and woollen scarves, apples and persimmon. All of these are things that I love. But it also means the end of summer, with its long days and bounty of fresh stone fruit, warm night breezes and morning swims, icy cold slices of watermelon. With the arrival of autumn, the endless horizons of summer come in a little closer to home.
The season may have officially changed, but the tropical warmth is still lingering in the air. And so I marked the first day of autumn last week with an homage to summer by making this Peach & Fennel Salad. A bright fresh bowl full of lovely texture contrasts; crunchy nuts, soft fruit, crisp veges. The peach brings the taste of summer, and the lime dressing punches it up with a touch of sweet, a touch of sour.
(And it may say ‘serves two’ below, but I sat on the verandah in the autumn sun and proceeded to eat the whole bowlful in one sitting, by myself. Just sayin’.)
Peach & Fennel Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing
If you’re preparing this salad ahead of time, keep the peanuts and the dressing separately to preserve the crunch, and throw it together when you’re ready to serve. To turn it into a heftier meal, add a boiled egg, or some shredded tofu.
1/2 fennel bulb
1/4 head of purple cabbage
8 – 10 snowpeas
2 spring onion
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted
1 large peach
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 1/2 tbsps tahini
Juice & zest of 1 lime
2 tsps ginger, finely grated
2 tsps sesame oil
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 – 2 tbsps water, to thin
Start by making the the dressing. In a jar or bowl combine the tahini, lime juice & zest, grated ginger, sesame oil, and honey. Whisk together and then add the water one teaspoon at a time until you get a nice runny consistency.
Using a mandoline (or a sharp knife and your mad cutting skills), finely shred the fennel and the purple cabbage. Remove the tops of the snowpeas and slice vertically into long strips. Thinly slice the spring onion, both the white and red parts. Halve and pit the peach then thinly slice. Roughly chop the coriander.
In a large bowl combine all of the cut vegetables, the coriander, and the roasted peanuts. Add the dressing then toss to combine. Serve immediately.