Ahh, nothing like a weekend full of sunshine,
local festivals with amazing live bands, birthday celebrations, cookouts, time with friends, and peaches.
Yup, it’s week two of the peaches in Georgia and, as we walked up to the Grant Park Market today, a truck full of ’em
was backing up to Pearson’s peach stand to replenish the supply of fuzzy, juicy fruits. People were waiting in line to grab peaches by the bag full.
And S & J’s Woodfire Pizza put those peaches to such good use,
they sold right out of their “Pork and Peaches” pizza.
Well, lucky for all you Jackson Lowe CSA folks out there, the peaches are coming straight to ya! And I’ve got a super quick, easy, and deeeeelightful salad recipe to share with you.
Arugula Salad with Georgia Peaches and Pecans tossed in a Goat Cheese Vinaigrette.
When Mecca told me that we’d be receiving arugula in our CSA box, I got super excited. I love bitter greens, and I knew I wanted to make an understated but memorable salad. My mind immediately began searching for something sweet to balance out the strong and wonderful peppery quality of arugula. Fruit, I thought…ooohhh, peaches! Perfecto. And for a little bit of buttery crunch, roasted salted pecans. The arugula can handle a good bit of salt standing up against it. To round out all of those components, a tangy, creamy goat cheese dressing. I could have candied the nuts, or done something fancy with the peaches. But with ingredients as fresh and true as these, I just wanted to honor the flavors and create a very simple harmony.
For the dressing:
1/2 Cup goat cheese, softened
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 Cup apple juice
1/2 t honey
1 T champagne vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
small handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped by hand and stirred in last minute
Place the first 6 ingredients into a blender or food processor and whir to break down the ingredients. Then, slowly stream in olive oil while you blend- a few tablespoons up to 1/4 Cup.
Stop and taste your dressing. Adjust seasoning to your liking. It should be tangy, with the edges sort of softened by the apple juice and honey. The garlic should impart a little bit of spiciness. If you are happy with your dressing, add your chopped parsley, place it in a jar,
and move on. If you feel it’s too thick, you can certainly add a little bit of water to thin it out. But mine was just the way I wanted it- loose enough to pour well, but thick enough to coat my leaves without shame. Once you’re finished with the blender, add that parsley and your dressing is ready to roll.
Okay, now, don’t blink.
Take a few handfuls of arugula and place it in a medium bowl. Peel a couple of peaches (my paring knife worked well for that task), slice them or dice them however you like, and scatter them over your greens. Sprinkle a handful or two your rich, crunchy pecans over the top. That’s it.
Drizzle with some of your goat cheese dressing, toss to coat, and
voila! Go and eat. Enjoy the beauty of sweet, salty, tangy, peppery, bitter, creamy, crunchy, soft, juicy, and fresh all up in your mouth.
You can offer this salad as a vegetarian entree, or serve it alongside a grilled flank steak or top it with some Georgia shrimp. Or, go ‘head and crumble a lil bit of bacon on top. Mmmmm. It will be delicious.
I’ve gotta go join Adam in the kitchen- and alternately on the deck in the rain by the grill. We’re cooking up a little “Pork and Peaches” of our own tonight: baby back ribs with grilled peach bbq sauce, and sauteed Jackson Lowe kohlrabi greens, cauliflower and turnips.
Happy Sunday. And happy cooking and eating to you.