Over the past two weeks, we’ve shared two delicious salads from Love & Lemons as part of this month’s Guest Recipes series. (If you missed them, be sure to check out the Grilled Panzanella and the Strawberry Quinoa Salad.) For this week’s recipe, Jeanine and Jack put together the most brilliant Grilled Peach Salad with pesto. I’m looking forward to trying this one over the weekend. Thanks for the recipe, Jeanine and Jack!
Grilled Peach Salad with Mint & Basil Pesto
serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side
I’ve been a peach purist until now. Peaches and cream, cobblers, and peach cakes have never been my thing. Plain ripe peaches with sticky hands and peach juice running down my elbows is more like it … So why mess with a good thing? Because it turns out that sometimes good things can be made even better.
The natural caramelized sweetness that came out of these peaches straight off the grill was to die for. Paired with contrasting flavors—spicy arugula, creamy fresh mozzarella, and herb-y pesto. It’s complete perfection. This one has moved to the top of my list for favorite summertime dishes. It’s simple enough to put together for a light weeknight meal, but fancy enough to serve as a starter at your next dinner party. This one’s sure to impress even your snobbiest of foodie friends. —Jeanine
2 firm, yet ripe peaches
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 c baby arugula
fresh mozzarella, sliced
a few dollops of pesto
2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted and chopped
salt & pepper
Mint & Basil Pesto:
1 c packed mix of mint & basil
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted (you could also use walnuts)
1/2 garlic clove, roughly chopped
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 c olive oil (or more)
a few pinches of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
Slice the peaches into 6 segments per peach. In a small bowl, toss peaches with olive oil, balsamic, and just a small pinch of salt.
Heat your grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat and brush it with some oil. Place the peach slices on the hot grill and cook each side for 2-3 minutes without moving them (near the end you can gently peek to see how your grill marks are coming along).
A few notes about grilling peaches: They will pick up the flavors of what you previously grilled on your grill. Depending on what that was, you may want to clean your grill well before beginning. Also, I experimented with using grill pans—a cast-iron (seasoned) grill pan and a nonstick grill pan. The nonstick created “prettier” grill marks because the peaches stuck less. The seasoned cast-iron pan imparted a hint of zucchini flavor from a previous dinner (that was surprisingly not awful tasting). Both ways, the peaches tasted wonderful.
When your peaches are grilled, set them aside and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse to combine. Add more oil for a smoother pesto, or leave it chunky—whichever consistency you prefer.
Toss the arugula with just a little bit of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Assemble on a platter and top with mozzarella slices, peaches, dollops of pesto, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes. Squeeze just a bit of lemon on top and serve.