Grilled Peach Salad

I have bad luck with peaches.  The ones I get at the store are never ripe.  So I put them in a paper bag to ripen only to have them go bad in three or four days.  Is there anything quite as disappointing as cutting into a peach only to find that the stone has split, the sugars have started to breakdown, and the inside is all fuzy with mold?  I might as well have just thrown $3.99 a pound right into the garbage.  And the ones that don’t go bad, well they just don’t taste like anything.

In that idealized, perfect world of mine, I would be able to go to the market each and every day for the freshest, most perfect produce.  I know, I know, I could make a point of getting my produce at the farmers market instead of the grocery store.  Going to the source for in season product takes one of the variables out of the equation. However, it leaves the biggest variable….me.  I would have to remember to use it right away.  No lingering or forgetting or procrastinating for days on end.  Maybe for idealized, perfect me that wouldn’t be a problem.  For real me, it’s a struggle.

So while my multiple personalities duke it out over who is running this show, I’m going to suggest that you try Pat and Gina Neely’s Grilled Peach Salad.  Because both ideal me and real me agree that grilled peaches, bacon, and balsamic vinegar are a phenomenal combination that makes even boring store bought peaches delightful and impressive.

Grilled Peach Salad with Balsamic Bacon Vinaigrette

Adapted from The Neelys

BAH Note:  The grilled peaches caramelize and provide a sweet balance to the bacon balsamic dressing.  You don’t have to have a grill, or a grill pan, to grill the peaches.  I used a 10 inch nonstick frying pan.

  • 1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag baby spinach or lettuce mix

Lightly coat the peach quarters with olive oil and cook in a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until char marks form.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon from the skillet to a plate.  Add the shallot to the skillet and cook in the bacon grease until tender, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the mustard, vinegar, and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the baby spinach or lettuce mix in a large bowl.  Add the grilled peaches and vinaigrette.  Top with the bacon, toss, and serve.

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20 Responses to Grilled Peach Salad

  1. Wendi–next summer we need to have a date to go to the orchard to pick peaches. They were fantastic right off the tree!

  2. That sounds really interesting! Even if it’s a sweet/savory kind of thing, which I don’t usually favor. You’re right about peaches–I almost always just buy nectarines because they’re lower maintenance.

    • Wendi says:

      I bought a rather expensive peach from Whole Foods this weekend because it had every indication of being ripe and delicious. It was an utter disappointment…mealy and dry. I freaking give up. Nectarines? Interesting.

  3. elizabeth says:

    I had some good luck with peaches this year, but it was a struggle–not only did I have to pack them carefully at the store so that they wouldn’t get too bruised in our mile-long walk home from the store, I then had to be mindful to not further damage them on the train ride to the office on Mondays. I had a fair amount of clunkers, but ultimately I was able to enjoy a good amount of them as well.

    One of the many things about fall that I’m looking forward to is the return of the hardy apple.

  4. Lan says:

    a new friend told me recently that he tried grilled peaches and it was “LIFE CHANGING”. i could use a change this week and i actually have 5 peaches on my counter that need to be consumed very soon…

    i also daydream about being able to hit the market every.single.day. for the freshest produce but i have that dratted thing called a fulltime job and it gets in the way.

    • Wendi says:

      Lan, I highly encourage you to introduce those peaches to a grill or grill pan post haste. And I keep seeing prosciutto wrapped grilled pears. Never tried it myself but why the hell not?

      And just for the record, I think this grilled peach salad is the cat’s meow.

      • Lan says:

        gasp, i LOVE prosciutoo wrapped pears (not grilled, tho i’m down with giving it a try) and gorgonzola cheese. divine combo!

        • Wendi says:

          Lan, I’ve never had the peach proscuitto combo but folks do seem to like it. And why the heck not throw some gorgonzola in there to sexy it up even more. Someone, anyone, please make me this.

  5. I no longer get the Food Network..I’m cheap that way…and to be honest, I don’t miss most of it at all, including the Neely’s. BUT this…this I can do. Sounds fabulous. I’ve only grilled peaches for a dessert dish but think I need to try this.

    I sure hear your lament…from rock hard to mush with no seeming in between; very exasperating. I’ve been getting them from Costco the past several weeks and they’ve been perfect. Which is a good thing since I have to eat two a day to get through the flat I have to buy. YUM!

    • Wendi says:

      Barbara, I don’t think my cable company gives us an option. Sometimes I like watching the Neelys just to be reminded that it is possible to get along with one’s spouse in the kitchen. The Mistah and I haven’t figured it out yet. But damn if Pat and Gina don’t have a grand old time.

      It never occurred to me to even think about buying peaches at Costco. And between now and next peach season, I’ll probably forget that they stock them. But if you have a couple hanging around, absolutely give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

      My photo didn’t make it look like the sexiest dish ever but it’s mighty fine in real life.

  6. Brooke says:

    This looks sinfully good. Definitely putting a star in my reader next to this gem. Nom.

  7. I love this sweet savoury kind of dish, this one is right up my street.

  8. Jen W. says:

    Great idea with the peach salad!

    Also, unfortunate peach experiences do not only happen in the grocery store. Here’s my story: I had wanted to go peach-picking a second time this year, but the orchard was closed. So I was excited to find a roadside stand that was selling big bags of peaches for around $12. Such a good deal! Well, they went bad very quickly and I had to throw most of them away. I couldn’t agree more – nothing is sadder than a peach that needs to be tossed.

    • Wendi says:

      Jen, I totally know the pain of throwing away spoiled food.  It’s a terrible feeling. I might have to look for some hard peaches at the market to make this one last time.

  9. emily says:

    The Neely’s actually seem to LIKE one another in the kitchen! this looks really good. IF I can still find some peaches……

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