Late Spring is the perfect time for salads! With a variety of lettuces starting to pop up in the gardens and farmers markets beginning to show their first fruits, a wide variety of options spring to life when it comes to putting together a creative little number. One is not limited to merely mixing and matching greens when approaching the subject. Be BOLD! Explore and experiment! Do something WILD! Cooking was meant to be fun, and the best way to achieve that is by stepping outside of the box to try something new.
When the opportunity arrived to prepare for our little Secret Supper, I wanted to showcase fresh items which where readily available, all the while, attempting to push flavors in new directions. Generally, one would not think about throwing fruit on the grill. The end result is full of surprises, with the grill bringing out flavors usually not experienced in the fruit. On this occasion, I paired the sweetness of peach with the bite of arugula. A touch of smokiness from the grill adds a little something unexpected.
You can cook, or you can create food that is art! With a little experimentation, you too will find bold new flavor combinations. Here is the basic salad recipe. I suggest throwing it out the window and creating something with your own unique signature!
Arugula and Grilled Peach Salad with Mozzarella and Balsamic Dressing
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 firm, ripe peaches- halved and pitted
4 ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh baby arugula
1 ball mozzarella, cut into ¾ inch chunks
Prepare a medium gas of charcoal grill fire.
Combine the vinegar and thyme in a 2-quart sauce-pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to about ¼ cup, around 6-9 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the thyme sprigs and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Rub the peaches all over with 2 tsp. of the oil and season lightly with a few pinches of fresh thyme, a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Grill cut side down until lightly charred, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice each half into thirds.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 ½ tsp. oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter. Top with mozzarella and peaches, then drizzle with about 2 Tbs. of the reduced Balsamic dressing, adding more to taste. Season to taste.