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.