I'll be the first to admit to having mixed feelings about late summer. On the one hand, hot weather is my nemesis. Anything above 90 degrees turns me into a wilted lettuce leaf. On the other hand, late summer is a glorious time of long days, superb golden light, and ripe, ripe tomatoes and peaches.
In the South, peach season is spoken of with almost the same reverence as basketball season. Almost. It's one of the small mercies of living in a place where the summers are long, hot, and humid. There's some debate about whether the best peaches are from Georgia or South Carolina, and I've heard some staunch advocates of Alabama peaches, which I'm sure are lovely as well.
Turns out, Oregon has pretty spectacular peaches as well, which is something I would never have thought until I moved here. And I say "the peaches are spectacular" without a trace of exaggeration, as one does when they try to convince themselves of something. No convincing is needed. The peaches are on par with any peach I've eaten anywhere. Likewise the tomatoes.
This salad is really nothing new, but why innovate when you have a perfectly good thing? I won't give you the "use the best ingredients possible" speech because I feel like that goes without saying for something like this. I will say that you can use the cheese of your preference. Burrata is lovely, and it seems to fit here quite well, but fresh mozzarella or Parmesan or even feta would be perfectly fine. Or leave the cheese out entirely if you like. Really, tomatoes, peaches, basil, olive oil, and salt are enough. I recommend assembling the salad and letting it sit at room temperature for an hour or so. The salt will draw out tomato juices, and once you've eaten the salad, there will be a sumptuous, salty mixture of olive oil, salt, and tomato juices at the bottom of the dish, which you would be remiss not to dip some bread in. Consider it dessert.
There's nothing tricky about this salad, but for more visual appeal, use a mix of large beefsteak tomatoes, yellow or multi-hued tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes.
On a large platter, arrange:
Sliced tomatoes (allow 1 tomato per person)
Sliced peaches (allow 1/2 peach per person)
Break into pieces and place over the tomatoes:
Burrata (allow 1/2 burrata per person)
Generously drizzle over everything:
Extra virgin olive oil
Place on top:
Coarse sea salt