I've finally settled into a bit of a routine where the new house is concerned. I am now the proud owner of a commuter bike that I ride to the office, and I've started riding different routes home so I can check out new streets or pick up something for dinner at In Season Market. When I pull up to the house, I immediately walk to the peach tree to check for ripeness. A gentle squeeze typically reminds me that patience is a virtue and they will be ready soon... but last night a few were ripe!
Confession - last night was the first time I have ever used a grill! We have lived in so many apartments where we didn't have a yard (and thus no grill)... and truthfully grilling always seems to be delegated to men at barbeques. After one use, I am converted. And last night was also my first time grilling fruit. It was delicious. To me, it embodies what summer cooking is all about - simplicity, natural flavors, and easy preparation. As we ate this salad, Rob and I discussed which fruit we'd grill next. Pineapple, perhaps? I have to admit that I did need to call Rob to figure out how to turn on the grill... I believe the pause before his response was when he questioned how smart his wife really is...
In the meantime, I see more grilled peaches in my future. I ate a few slices last night while I was cleaning up from dinner, I had one for breakfast this morning, and I was tempted to eat them served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or topped with whipped cream. We ate ours last night in a simple salad.
Grilled Peach & Ricotta Salad
I'm a bit hesitant to even call this a "recipe" because there is a great deal of flexibility with this dish. I have used homemade ricotta, but I think it would be equally as good with buratta. I also garnished the salad with a 12-year Aged Balsamic Vinegar we received as a housewarming gift. It takes just a drizzle of this vinegar to complement the peaches and the cheese. You can, of course, substitute any balsamic vinegar you have.
Arugula (I prefer arugula because of its sharp flavor)
3-4 peaches (depending on salad size you may want to increase the number of peaches... you won't have any problem consuming any leftover grilled peaches, I promise)
Homemade Ricotta (or substitute buratta or fresh mozzarella)
Oil for grilling (canola, vegetale or olive oil)
Balsamic Vinegar (I recommend using the highest quality vinegar that you have)
1. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush the flesh side of the peaches with a neutral olive such as canola or grapeseed oil. If you don't have either of those, use olive oil. Peeling the peaches isn't necessary.
2. Cook the peaches over a medium fire on all cut sides until grill marks show and the peaches are tender but not falling apart.
3. Place the arugula on a serving dish and set the grilled peaches on top of the arugula. Garnish with dollops of ricotta and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately. You can also dice the peaches once they are grilled if you prefer more of a tossed salad.
These three peaches were our first "harvest." I love that one of them came off in my hands with the leaves attached.