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Basil, Tomato, Peach, and Mozzarella Salad

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Sunday, September 12, 2010

As I have mentioned in the past one of the great perks of living in Lima is the vast availability of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products, thanks largely to the numerous markets that exist.  Portland may have been an exception when it came to fresh ingredients when compared to other cities in the US but it still can't compete with Latin American markets (similar markets are found in lesser developed countries all over the world). 

My growing interest in cooking has definitely increased since I first arrived and having CHEAP fresh ingredients at hand has made it convenient and practical, since I spend at well over half of what I would if I wanted to cook from scratch back home (probably a leading factor in why Americans don't cook as much anymore). 

The weather in Lima has been slowly attempting to break free of winter's hold over the city, but each day hope of an early summer continues to fade.  I can't help but laugh at the irony of leaving one cold city for another, and the weather in Lima does not reflect the fond memories of basking in the tropical warmth of  the southern hemisphere's sun (those days are gone, blame global warming or something).  To escape the mundane and dreary dark skies I often enjoy staying at home on a Saturday and preparing a nice home cooked meal (maybe try a new recipe).  Luckily I live near two small local markets that are open EVERYDAY and if I can't find what I need there is always the supermarket Plaza Vea just a few blocks (walking distance) from my home, though food items tend to be a bit more pricier there. 


Last Sunday I decided to prepare a nice lunch for Zdenka and I, so I went out and bought ingredients to make a simple pasta with Bolognesa sauce (typical red tomato sauce).  I wanted to accompany this dish with something fresh and light in flavor and usually I would prepare a Caprese Salad but I recall seeing a recipe on photographer Penny De Los Santos blog, about a Basil, Tomato, & Peach salad.  The photos were amazing and mouth watering, which were accompanied by what I consider to be a fairly quick and easy recipe.  Fortunately for me peaches and nectarines had just come into season again and were being sold in the local markets.  I walked over to the market and picked up the ingredients for the salad, the basil was only 20 cents for a huge handleful.  The mozzarella cheese was about the only real expensive ingredient (costing about S./7), which I had to buy at Plaza Vea since it's not typically sold at markets (they tend to sell more regional type cheeses).

The salad turned out great and took literally no time at all to prepare, not to mention it went well with the pasta.  I would highly recommend it.  Below is the recipe for those who are interested in giving it a try!

Ingredients for Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine

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A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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