Inspired by traditional Caprese salad, we swap the tomatoes for stone fruit and slip lemon balm in as a stand-in for basil. When you toss a handful of lemon balm over nectarines, plums, and fresh, milky mozzarella, you release a sort of magic that enlivens a fruit’s natural sweetness.
Lemon balm gives the nectarines and plums in this salad both depth and spirit. The herb’s cheerful energy comes through in how it tastes, but it also conveys that same energy to your mood, easing worry and encouraging a happy strength.
I like to serve this impossibly simple salad with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and herbal vinegar, such as my raspberry tulsi vinegar. If you don’t have time to make that—it takes a month—use balsamic vinegar instead, as its complexity and sweetness work well with stone fruit.
Makes 4 servings
- 3 nectarines, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3 black plums, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn
- 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh lemon balm
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon raspberry tulsi vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground coriander
- Flaky sea salt for serving
Arrange the fruit and cheese on a platter and then scatter the lemon balm over them. Drizzle the salad with oil and vinegar, and then dust it with coriander powder and a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Vibrant Botanicals.” Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer McGruther. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Jennifer McGruther. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.