by Emma Love Suddarth
Summer… a break… rest. For almost every professional dancer in the United States, summertime means layoff—a time to trade in the pointe shoes for flip-flops (or sneakers, if you’re smart) and let the body rest, recuperate, and repair. How dancers choose to fill this time varies greatly. For some, it is an opportunity to travel the world—hike the trails, bike the cities, or seek out the foreign places that the scattered weeks here or there throughout the season wouldn’t allow for. For others, it’s a special time to visit family—having missed so many holidays (must The Nutcracker fall on Christmas every year?), the annual summertime family vacation may be the one tradition a dancer is able to attend consistently. Or, maybe it is the rare chance to sit on the couch, lay back with feet up, and set Netflix on play. Regardless of how, it’s an opportunity to indulge where one can and enjoy what one might.
For Price and me, family and food are two things we feel strongly about. Our kitchen is the most frequented space in the house, and the refrigerator is covered entirely by pictures of Suddarths and Loves. Put the two together, and you’ll find us trying to decide what to cook or where to eat when visiting those we love. Last summer, while in Indiana with our Suddarth side, we discovered a fresh spot to test out—a new pizza place, Napolese Pizzeria, marked by local ingredients and seasonal varieties. The menu was distinctive and delectable—one pizza contained squash, feta, brussels sprouts, and a balsamic drizzle, and another with kale, pineapple, roasted peppers, and provolone. As avid cooks ourselves, we often love to recreate our favorite meals that we happen upon when dining out, occasionally adding little tidbits of our own “flavor.” That evening, leaving Napolese both satiated and satisfied, we had a handful of new projects for our kitchen. There was one course in particular that topped the list—a salad that seemed to capture summer in a bowl. Sweet, slightly charred yellow corn. Vibrant, impeccably roasted purple beets. Juicy, perfectly ripened fuzzy peaches. Can’t you just feel the warmth of the summer sunshine already?
This recipe has traveled the country. It’s been family-and-friend-tested, and earned a spot on our regular rotation whenever peach season strikes. And, lucky for us, it seems it’s just about that time.
Beet, Peach, and Corn Salad with a Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette
(serves approximately 2)
Smoky tomato vinaigrette (makes enough for multiple salads):
- 10 oz cherry/grape tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs water
- salt and pepper
5 oz greens (such as butter, boston, or bibb lettuce) or shredded cabbage
2 peaches, sliced
2 beets, sliced
1 ear sweet corn
To make the vinaigrette:
- Preheat a large pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated through, drizzle a little olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add tomatoes. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Leaving the pan covered, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Into a large food processor, add tomatoes, garlic, Dijon, Worcestershire, olive oil, vinegar, and water. Blend to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be refrigerated. Set out and let it come to room temperature to serve.
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 400° Cut any top off beets and scrub thoroughly. Wrap beets loosely in tin foil and roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork or skewer. Remove from the oven, let cool, and remove skin (should be easily rubbed off using a paper towel).
- Preheat grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Remove corn from husk and place directly onto grill. Rotate ear of corn every 2-3 minutes, until each side is slightly charred and evenly grilled. Remove corn from cob.
- To assemble, toss greens/cabbage with smoky tomato vinaigrette until evenly distributed. Then add peaches, beets, corn, and feta. Add additional dressing as needed. Serve.
You can bet we’ll be back to Napolese again this year, doubtless departing with both stomachs and minds filled with scrumptious new ideas…
Contributor Emma Love Suddarth is from Wichita, Kansas. She studied with Sharon Rogers and on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and attended summer courses at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Academy East, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She was first recipient of the Flemming Halby Exchange with the Royal Danish Ballet School and was also a 2004 and 2005 recipient of a Kansas Cultural Trust Grant. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2008 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2009.
While at PNB, she has performed featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Peter Boal, David Dawson, Ulysses Dove, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Margaret Mullin, Crystal Pite, Alexei Ratmansky, Kent Stowell, Susan Stroman, and Price Suddarth. Some of her favorites include the Siren in Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son, Jiri Kylian’s Petit Mort, David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin, William Forsythe’s New Suite, and Price Suddarth’s Signature.
She is a contributor to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s blog. She is married to fellow PNB dancer Price Suddarth.