Grilled Peach Salad, with Kale & Fennel

During the summer, peaches are one of my favorite fruits to eat & cook with.  I especially love grilling them, because it really enhances their sweetness, by caramelizing the outside of the peach.  Grilled peaches in a salad are a really easy way to have a gourmet meal, without the stress and heat of cooking in a closed kitchen.. Because lets face it, who wants to slave away at a stove for hours in 100 degree heat?  Not me!

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One of the first steps is to hunt down some really ripe peaches.  Getting those peaches that are still firm and hard to split in half, aren’t going to work well for this recipe, because you want peaches that are very juicy in order to caramelize them properly on the grill.  Once you’ve found those perfect peaches, slice them in half & remove the pit.  Make sure to heat up your grill pretty hot while you’re doing your prep work!  Drizzle the peaches with olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, and pink himalayan salt.  Place them face down on the grill, for about 5 minutes until they have a nice char, and then flip them over until their skin is also charred.  I also like to take a few lemons, slice them in half, and put those face down on the grill as well.  Only grill the fleshy side of the lemon, and not the peel, because you just want those sugars in the lemon to become a nice sweet sauce to squeeze over the salad.

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While your peaches and lemons are on the grill, its a good time to prep the rest of your ingredients.  Now this salad is open to a lot of interpretation, and you can really add any ingredients you’d like, or that you need to use up from your fridge.  I personally enjoy very thinly sliced red onions, and fennel.  I think the sharp flavor of the red onion, and the almost licorice flavor of the fennel, pair really nicely with the sweet grilled peaches.  Slice your red onion in half, and then into very thin half moons (you can also use a mandolin if you want them super thin).  Cut the stalks off of your fennel, remove the bottom & the outer sections, and slice thinly as well.  The fennel will fall apart into little half moon shapes once you cut it.

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For the greens portion of this salad, I like to keep it pretty mild, but bring a little bit of sharpness to the bite.  I decided to use a mix of kale, arugula, and baby romaine to achieve this.  I tore the kale into bite sized chunks off the stem (its a bit too fibrous to eat unless cooked), and squeezed a tiny amount of lemon juice onto the kale.  Get your hands in there and massage the kale with the lemon juice, and don’t be shy!  Kale needs to be massaged very well with an acidic element to have it be broken down enough to the point that its not a super tough leaf.  Massage the kale with lemon juice for about 2-3 minutes, until it turns bright green and seems more pliable.  Then add your arugula and baby romaine, and toss to combine.  Once you toss your greens together, you can add in your sliced red onion, and sliced fennel, and toss again to combine.  Since we have the lemon juice on the kale, it will also enhance the flavor of the charred lemon juice that you’ll want to drizzle over your salad.

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Dressing is a very important component to this salad.  You want something that just will help enhance all the flavors in your salad and also tie everything together.  And since we want our fruits and veggies to be the star here, we don’t want something very creamy or heavy either.  I chose for a mixture of 2 types of vinegar, and olive oil to achieve this.  I mixed white wine vinegar, with a splash of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of dijon mustard, some roasted garlic salt, & black pepper together with a whisk.  I then slowly emulsified in the olive oil, drop by drop, while continuously whisking to make sure the dressing doesn’t separate later on.  Once you have your dressing complete, you can pour it over your salad, and toss to combine!

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Last step is to plate your greens, veggies, and dressing mixture, and top with some sliced grilled peaches, a charred lemon half, and a sprig of fresh mint to top it all off.  Make sure to squeeze your charred lemon overtop before eating, & i highly recommend trying to get a piece of onion, fennel, and peach in every bite for that perfect flavor combination!  I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I do in these hot summer months!


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe peaches, halved & pitted
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 piece of fennel
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups baby romaine lettuce
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp hepp’s salt co. roasted garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp pink himalayan salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your grill to a decently hot setting.  You want your peaches to char quickly so they don’t fall apart.  Drizzle your peaches with 2 tbs of olive oil, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and 1/8 tsp pink himalayan salt.  Place face down on the grill until they have nice char marks, then flip to char the skin.  It will take about 4 minutes per side.  Also halve the lemons, and place them on the grill.  You only want to grill the fleshy side, and that will take about 4 minutes as well.
  2. While peaches are grilling, slice your red onion, and fennel very thinly.  Set aside.
  3. Rip the kale from the stalks and place into a bowl, squeeze half a lemon over top, and massage the two together in the bowl for about 2-3 minutes until the kale breaks down slightly.  Then add your arugula, baby romaine, red onion, and fennel to the bowl and toss to combine.
  4. Whisk together the white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, roasted garlic salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper together until combined.  Then slowly drip in the 1/4 cup olive oil in while continuously whisking to combine.  You can add more olive oil if you like a thinner dressing as well.  Pour the dressing over the greens & veggies and toss to combine, then transfer into your serving bowls.
  5. Remove your peach & lemon halves from the grill, and let them rest.  Cut your peach halves in half, or into quarters, and then place on top of your salad.  Make sure to include 1 grilled lemon half with every salad as well.  Squeeze the charred lemon half over your salad before eating.

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