This salad gives me all the feels. It contains a good portion of my favorite things. Can you hear the song playing now? “These are a few of my favorite things!” Peaches, Goat Cheese, Basil, Arugula, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar, Candied Pecans, and last but most certainly not least, First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Ok, okay… so the whole salad is everything I LOVE! Which is exactly why I had to share it. I know this will be your new go to, AND if you ever have a potluck or an occasion where you need to bring a dish this is the one to bring. It’s super simple to assemble but packs a whole lot of flavor. It’s gorgeous and tastes gourmet. You’ll look like the rock star of the party, I promise!
If you’re an avid reader, you know the base for any excellent homemade vinaigrette is high quality olive oil, so naturally this recipe is no different. You’re going to get two recipes for the price of one today! It’s absolutely key that the Balsamic Vinaigrette for this salad is made from scratch. In my opinion, it will make or break the dish! Plus, it’s so delicious, why wouldn’t you want to whip it up really quick?!
Balsamic Vinaigrette is another one of those handy recipes any good cook or chef should have in their arsenal because it’s versatility is so broad. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to uses for this dressing, but here are a few of my favorites.
Applications for Balsamic Vinaigrette
• Arugula – A simple Arugula salad with shaved Parmesan cheese is understated, but perfect with this Balsamic vinaigrette! Or you can go fancier and take a few extra steps to make a full-blown salad.
• Fish – Pan seared Tilapia (or your other favorite light, white flesh fish), cherry tomatoes, basil with Balsamic Vinaigrette reducing in the same pan while the fish is cooking is your new favorite fish recipe. Few things are better than one pan meals! You’re welcome!
• Tomatoes – Balsamic vinaigrette is delicious with tomatoes. Tomato anything!
• Cheese – Fresh Mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette are a classic pairing. Stay tuned for balsamic done in yet another way in our next blog post! You won’t want to miss it!
• Spinach – Baby spinach is another green that also goes deliciously well with balsamic as a topper!
The list can really go on and on. The Balsamic Vinaigrette is definitely suitable for year-round cooking!
1AV Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
• 1/4 cup high quality Balsamic vinegar
• 1 small garlic clove (crushed or grated)
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
• A couple cranks freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1/2 tsp. honey (+/- to taste)
1. Add Balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in vessel of your choice (I use a mason jar. You can whisk together in a bowl if you prefer.)
2. Add EVOO and honey to taste. Start with a lesser amount. You can always add, but you can't remove. If you like your vinaigrette more acidic, with a bit of a bite add less olive oil. IF you like your vinaigrette more balanced add closer to the full 1/3 measurement of oil and more honey. Shake your jar to combine/emulsify (or drizzle oil into your bowl and whisk together, if this is your method of choice).
4. Taste for seasoning. Adjust salt, pepper, and honey if needed.
Notes: Yields – Approx. 1/2 cup. Store unused vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 1 week. When using cold remaining vinaigrette, you may want to remove from the fridge ahead of use to allow to it come to room temperature as the oil may solidify slightly in the fridge. The application for your vinaigrette should also be taken into consideration when determining the final level of acidity of your vinaigrette.
Now for the part that brings it all together! In this instance, the peaches provide a nice level of sweetness, as do the candied Pecans, so the Balsamic Vinaigrette made for this salad can ere on the slightly more acidic side to balance out the overall flavors. You can also substitute the Peaches in this salad come Fall & Winter for Apples or Pomegranate seeds when stone fruit is no longer available.
Summer Peach salad recipe
• 3.5 ounces Wild Arugula
• 3 - 4 ounces goat cheese (Chèvre) crumbled
• 1 large yellow Peach sliced
• 8 Basil leaves chiffonade
• Handful of candied Pecans (I recommend Trader Joe's brand)
• sea salt (to taste)
• A couple cranks freshly ground pepper
• First Avenue Balsamic Vinaigrette made with First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Notes: Yields approximately enough for 2 people as an entrée or 3 -4 people as a side dish. If you're serving this for a group you can bulk up the quantities, build the salad with all ingredients sans vinaigrette, refrigerate the salad with plastic wrap covering until you're ready to serve. Toss with the vinaigrette at the very last moment before everyone is ready to eat. Add or hold back quantities of ingredients to your liking. I LOVE cheese and Basil so I go heavy handed with both, but you may like less goat cheese than I prefer. Experiment with it until you like your ratios.
1. Add the Wild Arugula to a medium to large serving bowl.
2. Cut the peach in half. Remove the pit. Place each half flat side down on your cutting board, and slice thin half moon shaped slices. The idea being wedjes would be a bit too overbearing and heavy for the weight of the lettuce. So, as like in size and shape as you can get to Arugula leave the better. Scatter the peach slices in with the Arugula in your serving bowl.
3. Stack your Basil leaves on top of each other in like direction on you cutting board. Roll the stack together into what looks like a Basil rolling pin. Hold the roll tight and slice thin strips off the end of the roll repeatedly. This is what's called a chiffonade. Scatter your Basil strips across your salad in your bowl.
4. Scatter your handful of candied pecans into your salad bowl. You can leave them whole, give them a rough chop, or hand crush them. Whatever your preference is. I typically leave mine whole.
5. Crumble your goat cheese over your Arugula.
6. Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.
7. Give your Balsamic vinaigrette one last shake in the jar (or whisk in the bowl you made it in) and drizzle the desired amount over your salad. Toss all ingredients together with your serving utensils lightly as to not smear the goat cheese.
8. Taste for seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.