7.10.15 Grilled Peach and Bread Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Last weekend, I came into a semi-ridiculous amount of peaches. Not that I’m complaining. I’d been forewarned by Forrest’s parents that when we visited them at their cabin for 4th of July last week, I’d likely be heading home with my fair share of them. You see, Forrest’s mom had bought a rather sizeable quantity from a farm truck, and by the time we saw her, nearly a week later, she still had enough left to fill an entire crisper drawer in the refrigerator. And then some. Needless to say, I was happy to take some off her hands.
This means you’ll probably be seeing a glut of peach recipes gracing the blog in the upcoming weeks, which surely isn’t a bad thing. One of the first things I decided to make with my peach surplus was this salad. We’ve been eating a lot of salads lately, and not just because our backyard garden and CSA share have kept us very, very well stocked with salad greens this summer. But also, because this time of year, salads are the perfect meal. Fruits and veggies are fresh and in season, not to mention the minimal amount of cooking it takes to prep a good one.
Of course, any good salad can be made even better with the addition of some warm, gooey pieces of melty cheese. The cheese in question, juustoleipa ( pronounced hoo-stah-lee-pah) or bread cheese, is some marvelous stuff. A squeaky Finnish cheese, it’s perfect for grilling, and after a short time over the coals gets beautifully melty without making a mess. Added atop this salad, along with caramelized, grilled peaches, fresh greens dressed in a basil vinaigrette, and topped off with hazelnuts, it made for one fantastic summery dish. Any salad that includes big pieces of warm, melty cheese is my kind of salad.
Grilled Peach and Bread Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Madisonians will likely recognize bread cheese as “that cheese they are always frying up samples of at the Saturday downtown farmer’s market”. Besides the markets, I’ve also had good success finding it a most local grocery stores, but if you’re having trouble, you can easily sub a similar style cheese such as Halloumi.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz juustoleipa cheese (bread cheese) cut into large chunks
- 2 large peaches, halved and pitted
- 4 oz mixed lettuce greens
- ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.
2. Make the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined and emulsified, about 30 seconds. Alternately, place ingredients in a bowl and use an immersion blender, or vigorous stirring with a whisk to mix dressing.
3. Skewer cheese pieces on wood or metal skewers for easier grilling ( if using wood skewers, soak them in water first to prevent them from burning). Place cheese skewers and peach halves (cut side down) on the grill and cook, flipping cheese occasionally, until cheese is melty and golden and peaches are beginning to caramelize, about 7-9 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce greens with the dressing to coat. Transfer greens to a serving platter.
5. Slice peach halves into 4-5 slices each, then arrange evenly atop dressed greens. Arrange grilled cheese pieces atop greens as well, then sprinkle evenly with chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.