arugula and peach salad with honeyed vinaigrette

by Patricia on September 11, 2009 · 7 comments

Okay, so… I know the summer peaches are almost gone, and that’s really a bummer (I love peaches).  But just in case you still have one or two lying around without a purpose I wanted to share this with you.  This salad was inspired by one I had at the Taste of the Nation in Napa last month.  It was one of the simplest dishes being served but it had the greatest impact on me.  The dressing was light, and the peach delectable… plump and ripe, the juices ran down my chin and fingers. Excuse me, I’m having a moment.

peach-salad

Suffice it to say, it was one of the best bites I had that day.  And before I had finished eating it, I knew I had to try making it at home.  In fact I think it was less than two days later that I found myself lustfully eyeing some peaches at my local grocery store (dirty).  I took them home and for lunch made a test batch of vinaigrette and the next day debuted this salad for Dan.  He loved it. It is definitely a keeper. I think the vinaigrette could be good on a number of things (maybe even to glaze a pork chop and served with a baked apple or something). And if peaches aren’t available, I bet apples or pears would be good too… (maybe even throw in some nuts).

The flavor impact of this salad really depends on the plumpness and ripeness of your peaches (dirty).  Hopefully you can find a few where you live.

peach-salad2

Arugula and peach salad with honeyed vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or canola… you want a neutral flavor oil for this. Although a lighter olive oil might be good too)

1. Put all ingredients in a jar. Secure the lid. Shake vigorously. Víola.
Alternatively, you could whisk these together in a bowl by starting out by mixing the honey and vinegar then slowly adding the oil. Whisk until blended. I’ve done both, but much prefer the jar method. I saved an old lemon curd jar just for this purpose, but any ole jar would do.
* makes about 1/4 cup
Notes:

  • You may want to use a little more honey if your peaches are not as sweet, but do a taste test first.
  • I like to use sherry vinegar or some chardonnay vinegar I found on sale at Whole Foods, but play around with what you have on hand.
  • My friend Christine has made this vinaigrette as well, but she added some orange zest and a splash of orange juice. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds like it could be good.

For the salad

4-6 handfuls of arugula (the amount here really just depends on how much you want at the time, how many people you’re feeding, and how you’re feeling about arugula at that moment)
2 peaches, pitted and sliced
manchego or a similar cheese (most recently, I’ve used an aged goat milk gouda. Basically, you want a hard cheese with a little saltiness)
sea salt (optional)

Toss the arugula and peaches with the vinaigrette (enough to coat everything but don’t drown it). Shave some of the cheese over the top (I like to use a vegetable peeler for this). If using, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Notes:

  • This makes 2 large salads if what you’re going for is a salad main dish, or could be 4-6 smaller salads. But its salad… it’s approximate.
  • I’ve been eating it as lunch lately and really don’t measure any of it so if you make this salad and decide it needs more or less of something you are probably right (I did measure the vinaigrette so I could post a recipe though, but tastes vary so if you want more or less honey or whatever, go for it).
  • I’d love to hear your feedback.
  • Also, if you don’t finish the salad with sea salt, you might want to add a pinch of salt to the vinaigrette.
  • It is really hard to describe peaches without sounding dirty. Or maybe it’s just me.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori @ RecipeGirl September 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm

This is a gorgeous salad. Lucky us, we still have an abundance of fresh peaches here in SoCal. I’ve been eating them daily for dessert & all.

PS- I have some brownies on my blog right now that you might enjoy :)

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2 Hillary September 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm

This salad makes me wish summer wasn’t over. Love the addition of shaved Parmesan too – everything tastes good with fresh Parm! :)

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3 Andy September 13, 2009 at 12:44 am

I made this tonight and it is wonderful! I also realized that this dressing would really improve on an already great winter salad I make (arugula, roasted butternut squash and goat cheese) which I usually finish simply with balsamic.
thank you!

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4 Patricia September 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Lori – Fresh peaches are the best. I can never seem to get enough of them in the summertime. btw – Those brownies look amazing! I love caramel.

Hillary – cheese definitely makes everything better :)

Andy – I’m glad you liked it! Your winter salad sounds delicious, I’m definitely going to have to give it a try now that the weather is cooling off. I really love this dressing… almost enough to drink it on its own (not quite but almost).

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5 hollis March 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm

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