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Peach, Arugula & Goat Cheese Salad

This salad showcases ripe peaches in season. Use a local variety of white or yellow peach, or donut peaches, which are smaller than regular ones. Balsamic vinegar can be reduced to a syrupy consistency to make a delicious condiment for grilled fruit and salads.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 firm, ripe peaches
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 bunches arugula (about 2 cups), tough stems removed
  • 2 Tbs. grapeseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 lb. fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the 1/2 cup vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vinegar is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Let cool.

Cut the peaches in half lengthwise and remove and discard the pits. Cut each half into 6 wedges. Place the wedges in a shallow dish, sprinkle with the brown sugar and drizzle with the 2 Tbs. vinegar.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate or a vegetable-grilling basket.

Arrange the peaches on the grate or in the grilling basket directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 1 minute per side.

In a large serving bowl, combine the arugula and oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the grilled peaches on top of the arugula. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with the goat cheese, and finish with a few grindings of pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).