Whether you need a break from burgers and brats or you’re trying to lighten up things for a hot summer date night, now is the perfect time to make this Grilled Peach Salad. Peaches are in season and they’re definitely our favorite fruit to grill. And even though the peaches are the “meat” of this meal, we do add some salty prosciutto to the salad to make sure no one thinks we’re vegetarians.
THE MEAT: The meat in this recipe isn’t meat at all—it’s fruit, but a meaty one! Peaches are soft and sweet and one of the meatiest fruits around. The flesh will stand up to the flames, and the smokiness adds a whole new dimension to the fruit, and in turn, the salad.
THE METHOD: You’re going to cook the peaches directly over the fire for the first few minutes. Since they’re soaked in balsamic vinegar and sugary honey, they will char. Not only is that okay, it’s desirable. Once you’ve got a good char, flip the peaches and move them away from the fire, put the lid on and give them about five minutes to soften up. And when you’re done you can put them right back in the marinade. Unlike when you cook with meat, there are no harmful bacteria lurking in the juices so they will continue to get more flavorful after the cooking is finished.
THE MEAL: Assemble these salads, crack a bottle of chilled wine or a citrusy IPA, and serve up a cold, refreshing, healthy-ish, smoky dinner.
For the peach vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons peach nectar (or peach juice or orange juice)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Teaspoon sea salt
Teaspoon black pepper
For the salad:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey
Parmesan cheese, grated
Peach Vinaigrette (recipe above)
To make the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together until emulsified. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the honey and balsamic vinegar. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place the peaches flesh side down in the bowl and let them soak in the vinegar-honey mixture.
Fire up your grill for direct medium high-heat. Cook the peaches directly over the fire, flesh side down, for 90 seconds, rotate and cook for an additional 90 seconds. Flip the peaches and move them away from the fire. Put the lid on the grill and let the peaches cook for 5 more minutes, until they are soft. Allow the peaches to cool.
To assemble the salads, toss the mixed greens in the vinaigrette. Add handfuls of the greens to a bowl and arrange slices of peaches, ripped bits of prosciutto, parmesan, blueberries and pecans on top.