Fresh Peach Salad
If you didn’t know, August is officially peach month. That means there is no better time than the present to eat some delicious ripe peaches. Now I love a good peach pie or cobbler, but when a coworker told me about a delicious peach salad, I had to give it a try.
For this peach salad you can grill the peaches or saute them slightly if you were so inclined, but honestly, I like mine ripe and fresh. This salad only has a few ingredients, but let’s face it, some of the best salads only focus on a few key ingredients. This one is no exception.
If I’m left on my own, I always cook chicken with the skin on. I buy it like that and I cook it like that. I’m willing to eat a few more calories for the incredible amount of flavor it brings. If I were cooking this for Betsy though, I would do hers without skin because that’s what she likes. Personal preference really, but we know who is right about this. :)
Fresh Peach Salad
Yield: Serves 2-4.
2 ripe peaches, cored and cut into 1/8 sections
2 chicken breasted
Baby greens, spinach, or arugula
4 ounces goat cheese
1/2 Cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Teaspoon molasses
1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon shallot, minced
1 lemon, juice only
1/3-1/2 Cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1) Whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients or shake them together in a jar.
2) Cook the chicken by liberally seasoning two chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in an oven safe pan. Once the oil is hot, set the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Let that cook for about 7 minutes and then flip it. Cook for 7 more minutes and then transfer to an oven to finish cooking at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
3) Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice it up!
4) Toast the pecans by setting them in a dry pan until they are warm and fragrant.
5) Wash and dry the greens if they aren’t pre-washed.
6) Add a few handfuls of greens along with cheese to a large bowl. Pour a few tablespoons of dressing in the bowl and tossed everything for a bit until all the greens were well coated.
7) Sprinkle on the pecans, lay down your sliced peaches and chicken.
Adapted from Cooking Light.
The dressing in this salad is awesome. To quote my coworker, “I could drink the stuff.”
Making the Vinaigrette
Please note the empty mustard jar above. I keep one or two of these on hand just for making dressing. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually purchased a salad dressing. Also, I’ll be honest, I never measure ingredients when it comes to making a vinaigrette. If you have a small jar like this, you don’t need to know measurements. It’s all about proportions!
These were my basic proportions for this recipe which I roughly translated into amounts for the above recipe:
Cooking the chicken
You could cook the chicken any way you like really. I chose to pan sear it and finish it in the oven. If you were being really healthy, you could even poach it.
I liberally seasoned two chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then heated 2 Tablespoons of oil in an oven safe pan. Once the oil is hot, set the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Let that cook for about 7 minutes and then flip it. Cook for 7 more minutes and then transfer to an oven to finish cooking at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
My chicken breasts were very thick so I cooked them for an extra 5 minutes just to make sure they were cooked through. Let them rest for 5 minutes and then slice them up!
If you are toasting your pecans you can do that while your chicken is in the oven. You can just set them in a dry pan until they are warm and toasty. You’ll be able to smell when they are done. Don’t burn them though!
Prepping the greens
Wash and dry your greens if they aren’t pre-washed. For this salad, I chose the “bowl method” for dressing. This means that I added a few handfuls of greens along with my cheese to a large bowl. Then I poured a few Tablespoons of dressing in the bowl and tossed everything for a bit until all the greens were well coated.
This is a great way to dress salads because it makes it basically impossible to overdress a salad. The extra dressing, if there is any, will be left in the bowl after you remove your greens with tongs!
Then just sprinkle on your pecans, lay down your sliced peaches and chicken and go to town!
I ate this salad for two meals in a row: dinner and lunch the next day. Honestly, I could have eaten it for ten meals in a row I think. It was that good. And when I finished it, I just felt… healthy.
Peach salad. Give it a shot.