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Grilled Peaches, Gorgonzola and Dandelion Greens

In summer, when local peaches are in full swing, Chef Chris Cosentino grills them; the caramelized juices paired with smokiness is addictive. He combines them with a little sweet, mild Gorgonzola dolcelatte, bitter dandelion greens and fresh mint, making the perfect summertime salad.

Ingredients:

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup pure olive oil
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 2 firm but ripe peaches, preferably white peaches, halved and pitted
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 cups baby dandelion greens
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 4 Tbs. crumbled Gorgonzola dolcelatte cheese

Directions:

To make the balsamic vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and pure olive oil until emulsified and then whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. This makes about 1 cup vinaigrette; you will need 1 to 2 Tbs. for the salad.

Place the peach halves in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbs. each of the olive oil and vinegar, and toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients and the grill.

Prepare a medium fire in a grill.

In a bowl, toss the onion slices with the remaining 1 Tbs. each olive oil and vinegar, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the fire is ready, put the peaches, cut side down, on the grill rack and cook slowly, turning once, until evenly caramelized on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. While the peaches are grilling, place the marinated onion slices on the grill rack and grill, turning once, until etched with grill marks and nicely caramelized on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

To serve, cut each warm peach half in half and place the pieces, cut side up, in the center of an individual plate. In a bowl, combine the dandelion greens, warm grilled onions, separated into rings, and the mint. Drizzle with the 1 to 2 Tbs. balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper, toss again and divide evenly among the plates, placing the salad on top of the peach halves. Garnish each salad with Gorgonzola, drizzle lightly with olive oil and grind pepper over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Beginnings, by Chris Cosentino (Olive Press, 2012).