Peach Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

We're approaching the end of summer and it's hotter than hot outside. In times like these, when my body urges me to eat light, it can be tough thinking of something to make on more special occasions. My peach salad is sometimes the perfect thing. The sweetness of ripe summer peaches are balanced by the peppery flavor, and you'll find a ton of complimenting textures in this refreshing dish. Nothing impresses my friends and family more than when I combine savory and sweet flavors like in this salad, and with this deceivingly simple recipe, you'll "wow" your guests too. Read on for the recipe.

Peach Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

4 servings

3 cups grapeseed oil

1/2 cup rice flakes

2 tomatoes, sliced

3 ripe peaches, halved, pitted and cut into six pieces

6 tablespoons Sesame Vinaigrette (see below)

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 cup frisee

1 cup watercress

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon Japanese pepper mix (Togarashi)

1. Heat the grape seed oil in a deep pot to 350°F.  Add the rice flakes and fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

2. Arrange the tomatoes and peaches on a large platter. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of the Sesame Vinaigrette and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, toss the basil, cilantro, frisee, watercress, onion and Japanese pepper mix with 2 tablespoons of the Sesame Vinaigrette. Mound over the tomatoes and peaches, and sprinkle with the fried rice flakes. Season with salt.

Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes 3/4 cup

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon blond miso

1 anchovy

Juice from 2 limes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

1 red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon Japanese pepper mix (Togarashi)

1. Heat the sesame oil in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the garlic and sesame seeds and saute until the sesame seeds are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Pick out the garlic cloves and transfer them to a blender. Set aside the sesame seeds. Add the sugar, olive oil, miso, anchovies and lime juice to the blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the soy sauce, mirin, chili, Japanese pepper mix and sesame seeds.