This fabulous salad came about purely by accident. I was preparing a salad for a catering job, was short on time as usual, and discovered that the bag of groceries containing the strawberries that I needed had somehow not made it out of the store. Since I had peaches and raspberries in the refrigerator, I used them in the salad as a substitute for strawberries and orange segments. I hadn’t made the dressing for the salad and needed to leave, so I grabbed a jar of Pink Poppyseed Dressing that was left over from another job, poured some over the cut peaches so they wouldn’t turn brown, and prayed that the ingredients would taste good together. When I returned to the job to pick up the dishes, the hosts were raving that this was the best salad they’d ever eaten and they wanted the recipe!
Although the nuts can be glazed in about 10 minutes, they can be also made ahead and kept in an airtight bag. You may use any kind of nuts, but the flavors of peach and almond are a classic combination and go well in this salad.
If you are short on time, you may use the packaged salad mixes available at the grocery store. Not only do they come in several varieties, they are real timesavers for busy cooks.
Raspberry Peach Salad
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 batch Pink Poppy Seed Dressing (more or less to taste)
3 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
12 cups salad greens (I like a mixture of iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, romaine, and spring mix), torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup celery, diced
3 cups fresh raspberries
Put the sugar in a small frying pan and turn heat to high; when the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan over the heat until the sugar is almost all melted. Add the almonds and stir to coat. Pour the glazed almonds onto parchment or waxed paper to cool.
Cover the peach slices with some of the dressing, then mix with the remaining ingredients. Toss with enough additional dressing to moisten, then mix in the almonds.
Pink Poppy Seed Dressing
Makes about 2 1/2 cups dressing
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes
1 cup oil
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Place all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds in blender container and blend until well mixed. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until thick. Stir in the poppy seeds. This dressing will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.