Oh hello there. It’s been a while. How are you? How’s your summer been?
I’ve neglected this space lately, it having taken a back seat to some other things – namely, attending this beautiful tear-jerker in Roscommon, Ireland (that groom is my baby brother, looking swank in a white suit)…
…and soaking up this scenery:
…and visiting this rad place:
…and stuffing my face along the way:
And, well, it being summer, the idea of a picnic blanket and a book – or a beer on a patio – has been a lot more enticing than interacting with the Internet. So if I’m here, bathing in the glow of my computer screen, it’s because there’s something worth sharing.
The timing of this entry is also important, as the MVP of this recipe (the peach) is nearing the end of it’s season in Ontario, meaning that availability in Québec is becoming slimmer as we move through the month of August. If you live in the same climate zone as me, over the next few days you’ll likely be binging on the last of the berries and melons and stone-fruit before they’re all gone for another year. And if you haven’t had this impulse, remember: we’re talking A WHOLE YEAR here. Imagine how depressed you’ll feel in late November when you realize you never ate one fresh strawberry, one blueberry, one peach all summer, while you’re eating your fifth rutabaga of the week. You’ll want sort this one out before the summer’s over; you’ll need the memory of plump berries and orchard harvests fresh in your head to help get you through the icy, blustery months of November through March. The salad below will provide a nice memory you can look back to when you’re waiting for the bus in 20 inches of snow.
This recipe puts the peach up front and centre, without any frills or unnecessary distractions; its simplicity ends up being its strongest asset. The fruit is cut open and grilled, then tossed onto vinegary salad leaves with shreds of buffalo mozzarella. Bits of fresh chives and peppery onion slivers are mixed in, adding a nice hum to the whole thing.
Find a day to eat this lovely mess of a salad, sitting on a blanket in the grass. With your hands, if you prefer. Lick the bowl. Lick your fingers. But most importantly, relish the moment. Summer will appreciate the earnest send-off.
Grilled Peach Salad – serves two as a light main (adapted from Farmhouse Table)
- 3 peaches* (or 4 nectarines), cut in half and pitted
- flaked salt (like Fleur de sel or Maldon salt)
- 2 large handfuls of mixed greens, washed and dried
- 1/2 small red onion (or one shallot), finely sliced
- 2-3 oz. buffalo mozarella, torn into bite-size pieces
*Note: for the love of god, DON’T punish your peaches by putting them in the fridge. Doing so will make them hard and acidic. Leave them on the counter and consume over the next few days. If you’re worried about fruit flies, cover them with a plate or something like it.
For the dressing:
- 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
- approx. 1 Tbs. minced chives
- 1/4 cup (or 4 Tbsp) olive oil
Lightly salt the cut sides of the peaches, drizzle very lightly with olive oil and place cut side down on a hot grill*. When the peaches are charred and have begun to soften, remove them to a platter and set aside.
To make the dressing, place vinegar, honey, mustard and chives in a small bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Toss salad leaves and onion with vinaigrette and place in a serving dish. Spread peaches and mozzarella on top of the greens and drizzle with a little more dressing. Serve straight away.
*If you (like me) don’t have a BBQ, you can toss the peaches into a preheated grill pan – not exactly the same result as putting it on an outdoor grill, but you still get those nifty charred marks.