This has been the best year for peaches. They are so sweet and juicy, and plentiful! I just can’t get enough of them. I know you’ve seen a lot of recipes for peach related dishes, but I hope you’re like me, and savoring them while you can.
I have been formulating this salad in my head for quite a while. When I can get good white peaches, that is my peach of choice. I would never turn down a yellow peach, but to me, the white peaches are so sweet. I knew that I had to have a strong cheese to balance out the sweetness of the peaches, so I chose crumbled gorgonzola. You could use blue cheese, goat cheese, or whatever you like. I also wanted a dressing that started out sweet and ended up with a hint of heat at the end. The Honey Jalapeno dressing did exactly that. I love it when someone takes a bite and gets that little hit. It’s that oooh moment that makes it anything but ordinary.
When I told you about the Strawberry Spinach salad a few weeks ago, I told you about being a strawberry snob. I guess I am just a big ole salad snob too. I say this because one of my biggest pet peeves is when you go to a restaurant, and they serve you a salad where the greens are to big to eat or they’ve given you the big yellow chunk from the center of a head of lettuce. Really? Who wants that? I always cut or tear my greens into bite sized pieces. It looks better and makes it easier to eat. You can make this salad with the greens you prefer, but pick greens with a bit of structure. The weight of the peaches will weigh a more delicate green down and your peaches end up on the bottom of your dish. I also sliced two scallions very thinly. You can add anything that sounds good to you.
I started by making some candied walnuts. Doesn’t the omega 3 fats cancel out the calories? You can buy them but they aren’t hard to make and are much cheaper. I used a recipe from cookingwithauntjuju.com. Make plenty because they make a great snack!
To make the candied walnuts, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimed baking sheet with foil, and either spray it with nonstick cooking spray, or what I did was to take the 1/2 stick of butter that is needed to make the nuts, and just rub it lightly over the foil. In a large nonstick skillet, combine 4 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of white sugar and heat; stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the walnuts to the syrup and stir to coat. Spread the walnuts on the baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, turning the pan 1/2 way through. You will know they are done when you begin to smell them. Watch them towards the end because the caramel can burn. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Sprinkle with 3 more tablespoons of sugar. You can also add a little chili powder or cayenne powder if you like them with a kick. Spread them out on wax paper and allow them to cool completely. Stir occasionally so they dry on both sides. Once cool, break them up and lightly chop. I store mine in a resealable bag or bowl.
To make the dressing, combine 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed), the juice of 1 lemon (4 tablespoons), 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined. While the blender is still running, drizzle in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Continue blending until smooth. Taste and add additional jalapeno and salt if needed. My jalapeno was small and I ended up using 2.
Grill the peaches when everything else is ready. I would grill 1/2 peach per person for a side salad or 1 peach per person for a main course salad. Preheat the grill. Cut peaches in half and carefully remove the pit. Brush cut sides with olive oil. Turn grill to medium low heat and place peaches cut side down. Allow to cook 7 to 10 minutes or until they begin to soften. They don’t need to be turned. If your heat is to high they will blacken before they are done. They will soften slightly as they cool so be careful not to overcook. You don’t want them to get too soft or they will be mushy. Yuck! I cut the grilled peaches into slices and then each slice in half (bite size remember my pet peeve).
Assemble the salad. In a bowl or on a salad plate, add greens and sliced scallions. Sprinkle on nuts and cheese. Place grilled peaches on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Hubby and I enjoyed this salad with a cup of soup and a couple slices of crusty bread that I had brushed with olive oil and rubbed with a fresh garlic clove. I put them on the grill right before my peaches were finished.
Grilled Peach Salad with Honey Jalapeno Dressing
2 white or yellow peaches, cut in half. Brush cut side with olive oil
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 cup candied walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled soft cheese such as gorgonzola, blue cheese or goat cheese
Lettuce greens of your choice, rinsed, spun dry and torn into bite sized pieces. Top with scallions, chopped candied nuts and crumbled cheese.
Preheat the grill. When hot, turn heat down to medium low. Place peaches cut side down 7 to 10 minutes or until slightly soft. Remove from grill and cut into bite sized pieces. Top salad with peaches and drizzle with dressing.
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 garlic clove
1-2 jalapenos, seeded with ribs removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Once smooth, with blender running, drizzle in olive oil. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more jalapeno or salt if needed. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Provided by HostessAtHeart
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 – 3 cups walnut halves
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a rimed baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
In a large nonstick skillet, combine 4 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of white sugar and heat; stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the walnuts to the syrup and stir to coat. Spread the walnuts on the baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, turning the pan 1/2 way through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Sprinkle with 3 more tablespoons of sugar. Spread them out on wax paper and allow them to cool completely. Store in a resealable bag or bowl.
Provided with the permission of cookingwithauntjuju.com
Come on over and help me celebrate Fiesta Friday. My friends response to this recipe have me thinking this would be a great addition to the next party! Head over there and see some other great submissions for yourself!
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