Saturday, September 25, 2010

End of Summer: Grilled Peach Spinach Salad

Towards the end of summer I made a couple meals that used some of my favorite summer foods like bbq chicken, peaches, fresh greens and the like. I was grilling things like crazy to get my summer food fix so that I could be totally prepared for fall. I am just madly in love with fall. Summer is great, but fall is wonderful.

While I may clearly favor fall over all other seasons, Summer does have one thing that beats them all and that is peaches are in season. Peaches are my favorite fruit (perhaps this is my 9th time declaring this but oh, well, its true). So I gathered a basket of peaches and got to work the last couple weeks of summer. Over the next few days I will be rapidly posting these before my blog is overflown with pumpkin, apple and holiday spiced recipes.

I know I say this everytime I make a salad but this might be my favorite salad recipe thus far. It features some of my alltime favorite ingredients: peaches, bacon, blue cheese, red onion and spinach. The ingredients seem odd and bizaar and that they can't possibly work together but they do, omigoodness they sure do. The dressing is easy and effortless and I just adore blue cheese. There's nothing about this salad I don't like.

 I typically don't care to add nuts to much, I like to just snack on palmfulls of them with bits of dried fruit and dark chocolate but toasted pecans are delicious and compliment all the other flavors. For those of you who like snacking on nuts like I do, try toasting pecans and popping them in your mouth when they are warm, addicting I tell you. Anyways, this salad is right up there with a Strawberry Mozzarella salad I made a while back, strange but fabulous.

Grilled Peach Spinach Salad


For the salad:
1/2 cup pecans
4 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 pound hickory-smoked bacon, roughly chopped
8 cups baby spinach
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Danish blue cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, 6 minutes; roughly chop.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat on one side and medium heat on the other. Lightly brush the peaches with oil and grill over medium until nicely marked, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, place a flat cast-iron skillet on the grill over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Combine the spinach, red onion, grilled peaches, pecans and bacon in a large bowl.

Make the dressing: Mash the blue cheese with a fork in a bowl. Mix in the buttermilk, sour cream, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the salad just before serving.


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