Grilled Peach Salad with Bacon Balsamic Vinaigrette
This recipe came about when I had a client request a grilled peach salad and with summer peaches around the corner, I thought this was a great time to share it. My client had previously had a grilled peach salad that she loved, but could not tell me what was in it. So I started searching through the internet to see what other people were throwing in their grilled peach salads. I came up with this delightful combo and topped it off with my Bacon Balsamic Vinaigrette. I must have hit the nail on the head because she keeps ordering it.
The great thing about salads is how versatile they are. Get creative and try some of your favorite ingredients in this salad. If you can't find peaches try nectarines or even red pears. You don't want to use a fruit that is to soft or it won't grill well. I have been using an indoor grill pan for this salad, but you could try it on an outdoor grill as well. Just watch your fruit, timing is everything. If you let it go too long it will get mushy and fall through the grates.
1 small container of Mixed Greens
2 oz Goat Cheese, crumbled
2 ripe Peaches, sliced
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Water
1/8 tsp Salt
Bacon Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 small Shallot, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves (you can also use dried, just reduce to 1 tsp)
1/4 lb Bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Start by candying the pecans. If you don't feel like doing this step you can just use the pecans raw. In a small bowl combine your brown sugar, vanilla, water and salt. Then set to the side.
Preheat a small skillet over medium heat, then toast your pecans for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss occasionally. When you can start to smell them they are done. Leave them in the pan and drizzle in your brown sugar mixture.
Stir the nuts for 30 seconds and make sure all the nuts are coated with sugar. Spread the nuts onto parchment and let them cool.
Now you will make the vinaigrette. Start by placing your chopped bacon in a cool skillet. Turn the heat onto medium and brown the bacon. You will want to occasionally stir it. When the bacon starts to crisp up, remove from the pan and place in a bowl lined with a paper towel.
Now add you shallots and thyme to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for about 3 minutes, until the shallots soften. Next add in you Dijon and balsamic vinegar. Whisk to combine.
Remove the dressing from the heat and place the mixture in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in your olive oil while whisking vigorously. Once the dressing is emulsified add your bacon back in a adjust seasoning to taste.
Preheat your grill with medium heat while your dressing is cooking. Oil the grates before placing your peaches on the grill. When the grill is hot, grill peaches for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and grill the second side for another 2 minutes. This time will be shorter if your peaches are very ripe and may be longer if they are under ripe. Just don't let the peaches break down and get mushy.
Now you can build your salad. Place your greens in a large bowl with half of your pecans, half of your peaches, half of your goat cheese and all of your onion. Toss with your vinaigrette. Then top your salad with the remaining ingredients. I like to make a pretty design with the food.