Even in California, life is dictated by the seasons. We may not get extreme hot and cold like some states, but our eating is always seasonal. Late July and early August is all about peaches for me. . Peaches always make the “dirty dozen “ list, which means they are full of nasty pesticides! I always buy seasonal organic peaches, and would buy frozen or canned organic peaches over fresh conventional ones any time.
I can never have enough of these peaches in their natural state, but of course I have to make things with them. Along with pies and tarts, we put up jars and jars of peach jam and chutney at my restaurant. Try white peaches with crème fraiche and honey for a quick dessert on a hot summer night. When your local farmers’ market is bursting with peaches, peel and freeze for smoothies and cobblers. I also love this salad that highlights honey grilled peaches. It’s so fresh and light, and perfect for lunch or dinner on a hot summer day.
Honey Grilled Peaches with Arugula & Goat Cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ripe but firm medium sized peaches, cut in half and pitted
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar mixed with 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 ounces baby arugula
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and dry roast the almonds until they are light brown and fragrant. Let cool.
Heat the same skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Grill the peaches cut side down, about 2 minutes total. Add the vinegar/honey mixture and cook another 30-40 seconds, just until the peaches caramelize.
In a blender, puree the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss the arugula with some of the dressing and place on individual plates. Place the cheese and the peaches (2 halves per person) on top of the salad, add the almonds and drizzle with more dressing.