Oftentimes the recipe you make is dictated more by what the market has available that day than what the recipe actually calls for. That happened with this salad, which I wanted to make according to the exact recipe. But there's a reason why I love the market where I get my produce; I love because it stocks only what is available from local farmers. That was a real blessing in this case, because I think the changes created a whole new amazing version of this beautiful, colorful salad.

The original recipe can be found in a lovely cookbook called "La Tartine Gourmande" by Béatrice Peltre. It calls for "regular oranges" (which around here means Valencia oranges), blood oranges, radishes and watercress. My local farmers seem to be fresh out of blood oranges (though there were some earlier in the year that were of such a deep maroon color that they were almost black ... gorgeous!) and there were no radishes or watercress to be found. But there were a few varieties of summer stone fruits and pea shoots. Making modifications on the fly, this is the salad that resulted when I got home from the market. And it turned into a real winner!

Of course, you can stick with the blood oranges and watercress in your version — or switch yet again to something new — and definitely add the spice of thinly sliced radishes if they're available and you enjoy a bit of spicy crunch. But what I would not change is the way this salad is layered. Peltre crafted a salad that is as much of an art piece as a meal, and I had a lot of fun following her lead and plating this to create something that makes you gasp a little at the season's bright colors and variety.

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Total time: 15 minutes 

Yields: 2 servings

Orange and Nectarine Salad with Cumin-Shallot Vinaigrette

Ingredients for vinaigrette

  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, very finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Ingredients for salad
  • 4 nectarines
  • 4 Valencia oranges
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cups pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
Cooking directions
  1. For vinaigrette: In a large bowl, combine the sea salt, pepper, cumin and vinegar. Whisk once or twice to combine. Add the shallot, stir once to coat and let it sit for 20 minutes. Pour in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Add the parsley and set aside.
  2. For salad: Peel the orange and slice into rings. Slice the nectarine into rings. Halve and pit the avocado, and slice into strips. Use a spoon to gently scoop the strips from the peel, maintaining their shape. Add the pea shoots to the vinaigrette and gently toss to coat.
  3. Arrange the slices of fruit and avocado on the plate in a ring along the outer edge of the plate, alternating between each ingredient to make a pattern.
  4. Place a handful of the dressed pea shoots in the middle of the ring. Top with chopped pistachios. Serve and enjoy!

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Orange and Nectarine Salad with Pea Shoots and Cumin-Shallot Vinaigrette
The plating of this salad highlights the gorgeous colors of fresh produce.