Peaches, Brie and Almond Salad

For the dressing
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
2 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
1/2 cup whole skin-on almonds
3 heads medium Boston lettuce (outer leaves removed), washed and dried
4 ounces watercress (may substitute 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley), washed, dried and stemmed
4 to 6 medium peaches, preferably locally grown, pitted and cut into quarters
10 ounces room-temperature brie cheese, cut into 16 to 24 thin wedges


For the dressing: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and a pinch of salt in a small skillet over low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until they have softened and released their juices. Transfer to a small bowl and add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste; use a fork to whisk in the remaining oil in a steady stream, mixing to combine. Set aside.

For the salad: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 4 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Tear or cut the Boston lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the watercress and half of the dressing; toss lightly to coat. Divide the dressed greens among individual plates; place the quartered peaches on each portion and divide the thin wedges of brie among the plates, placed on top of the salad. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Adapted from chef-restaurateur Nora Pouillon.