Nectarine and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette

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Nectarine, goats milk feta and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette and walnuts recipe

This nectarine and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette celebrates peak summer and all its delicious bounty. The creamy fresh mozzarella and salty feta offset the sweetness of the nectarines. The vibrant basil vinaigrette is so delicious you will want to drink it. 

A jar of basil vinaigrette with lemon

I had never been a fan of using fruit in a salad until I discovered the combination of watermelon, feta and mint. Spiked with vodka it’s a delicious summer dish. Now I enjoy fruit in many salads. Summer is all about celebrating stone fruit and I can’t get enough.

Slices of nectarines and other ingredients to make a salad

You might like these fruity salads of mine:

Watermelon & goat cheese salad with a vodka vinaigrette

Melon, mozzarella and Parma Ham salad

Avocado & orange salad with fennel

Kohlrabi, persimmon and hazelnut salad

Taking inspiration from this, I added a splash of vodka and lemon juice to the sliced nectarines to temper their sweetness slightly but feel free to leave it out if you prefer.

silced nectarines for a salad with basil vinaigrette

I have used a combination of fior di latte mozzarella and goat’s milk feta which I far prefer to regular feta. If you can’t get hold of this (it’s available at Woolworths stores in South Africa), use your favourite feta.

If you want to get really fancy you could swap the fresh mozzarella for buffalo mozzarella or burrata. The creaminess of the cheese works so well in this stone fruit salad.

Ingredients for a nectarine, mozzarella and feta salad with basil vinaigrette and a kitchenaide mini blender

Can you freeze fresh mozzarella?

You can freeze a ball of fresh mozzarella (fior di latte, buffalo or burrata) in the brine that it’s packaged in. I always keep a few packs in my freezer for emergency Caprese salads.

To thaw mozzarella, simply leave it at room temperature for a few hours or thaw it in the fridge overnight. Drain the liquid and use it as if it was just purchased.

A bowl of nectarines

What oil and vinegar do you use in basil vinaigrette?

The flavour of the basil vinaigrette will be directly affected by the flavour of the olive oil and vinegar you choose. Try to select a neutral-flavoured extra virgin olive oil here as the basil is a very strong flavour.

I like to use good quality white wine vinegar as it is a little sweeter, but red wine or sherry vinegar will work just as well. You may need to add a dash of honey (1/2 tsp) if you feel it needs a little sweetness. Taste and test the dressing as you are making it and adjust the seasoning to your preference.

Store the dressing in the fridge but bring it to room temperature before using. The olive oil in the dressing will solidify when chilled.

A few tips and tricks to make this nectarine and mozzarella salad perfect

Use nectaries that are just ripe but still firm. This will make them easier to slice and keep their crunch. If you use overly ripe nectaries they will be soft in texture and too sweet for this salad.

Slice the nectarines by running a sharp knife around the fruit starting at the stem. Twist and pull the two halves apart with your hands. remove the pip using a melon baller to scoop it out. Alternatively, simply slice around the pip.

Make the basil vinaigrette in advance to save time.

A platter with a nectarine and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette

What to serve with this nectarine and mozzarella salad

This salad will go well with any grilled chicken or pork dishes. I can imagine a grilled piece of gamey fish (such as tuna, swordfish or pairing well with it too. Especially if cooked over the fire.

The basil vinaigrette could be used to dress grilled chicken, pork or fish too. 

Substitutions

A mixture of heirloom tomatoes would go perfectly with this salad combination. Next time I might add tomatoes to the mix the way Food 52 did with their rendition which is more Caprese-like. Basil, mozzarella and tomatoes are a match made in heaven.

Recipe – serves 4 – 6 as a side dish with proteins and other dishes

Nectarine and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette

A delicious summer salad of juicy nectarines, fresh mozzarella, feta, mint, walnuts, and a delicious basil vinaigrette.
Print Recipe
Nectarine, feta and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette recipe with mint and walnuts on a platter
Prep Time:10 minutes

Ingredients

Basil vinaigrette:

  • 30 gms basil leaves approx 2 cups lightly packed
  • 25 gms shallot ½ small, chopped
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice half a small lemon
  • 2 Tbsp white/red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil mild in flavour
  • ¾ tsp sea salt flakes such as Maldon
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ½ tsp honey – optional

Nectarine and mozzarella salad:

  • 4 – 5 ripe or slightly under-ripe nectarines cut in half and sliced into wedges
  • 1 ball of fior di latte mozzarella/Buffalo mozzarella or burrata
  • About 150gms net weight of cheese
  • 1 wheel goats milk feta or regular feta approx 70gms
  • Juice from half a small lemon
  • 1 Tbsp vodka optional
  • Small handful of chopped walnuts
  • Leaves from a couple of mint sprigs roughly torn
  • A small handful of wild rocket leaves
  • A generous coating of basil vinaigrette
  • Sea salt flakes and black pepper

Instructions

  • To make the basil vinaigrette, strip the leaves from the stalks and place with all the ingredients into a small or power blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Pour the dressing into a jar and keep any leftover for later use.
  • Assemble the salad just before you want to serve it.
  • Place the sliced nectarines in a bowl with the vodka and lemon juice and give it a toss. Allow to soak for about 5 -10 minutes.
  • Scatter most of the sliced nectarines on a platter (reserving a few to go on top) and then break the mozzarella into rough pieces and place in and around the fruit.
  • Crumble the feta over the nectarines and mozzarella.
  • Scatter over the remaining nectarines. Generously drizzle the salad with basil vinaigrette.
  • Scatter the chopped walnuts, mint leaves, and wild rocket.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Choose nectarines that are ripe but not soft. You want to retain a little crunch. You could even work with slightly under-ripe nectarines here, just compensate with a little sweetness in the dressing.
Choose a neutral-flavored olive oil and a slightly sweeter vinegar.
Chopped walnuts work well as a crunchy textural element with this dish, but toasted pine nuts would also be delicious.
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Sam Linsell

*This post is sponsored by Rediscover Dairy and Juicydelicious (stonefruit). 


 

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2 Comments

  1. This recipe is definitely a keeper!! Lovely fresh flavours. The basil vinaigrette is amazing!






  2. So glad you loved this recipe Liesl and thanks for letting me know

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