While there’s still about a month left of summer it really is just starting to feel like it’s over. We had our last beach day today so basically that’s my goodbye to summer. One thing I love about the near end of every summer is the abundance of fresh peaches everywhere. I had two neighbors bring me a bag full of them and I also had bought a bunch of local ones at the store. So we have been eating peaches in everything and drinking them in just about every smoothie for the last two weeks. And no one is complaining about that around here, we all absolutely love peaches! Who could resist them? They’re sweet, juicy and perfectly tender. I just love biting into a freshly picked peach. The other thing I love (and if you’ve been reading for a while I’m sure you’ve caught on by now) is grilled chicken salads. They are so versatile and you can add just about anything to them, and if we are going to go all out on a salad we may as well make it into a meal, right? Since it’s peach season of course I had to do a peach variation, and this one does not disappoint! I can almost guarantee, that like me, you’ll love everything about it! From the chicken marinated and infused with fresh garlic-basil flavor, to the combination of fresh peaches, corn and goat cheese and of course how well it is all complimented by the white balsamic-honey vinaigrette. I could pretty much live on this salad! It might just become one of your favorite summer salads, just be sure to try it before summer is over!
Then a side note with this salad, I wouldn’t recommend substituting dried basil for the fresh. But as a last resort if it’s winter and it’s hard to come by the most I would use of dried would be 1 Tbsp. even though the general rule is to use 1/3 the amount of fresh I think it would be far to much here.
Peach Salad with Grilled Basil Chicken and White Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette
Yield: About 5 servings
Grilled Basil Chicken
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 Tbsp olive oil , plus more for brushing grill
- 1/3 cup slightly packed chopped fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz Spring Mix lettuce
- 1 lb peaches , sliced (about 3 small)
- 2 ears corn , husked and kernels cut from cob
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans , toasted
- 1/2 small red onion , sliced thin (about 3/4 cup), rinse under water to remove harsh bite
- 4 oz Goat cheese , crumbled
For the chicken:
In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, basil, garlic, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each). Using the back of a spoon, press basil against sides and bottom of bowl (to help extract flavor from basil). Place chicken in a resealable bag and pound thicker parts of chicken to even thickness with a meat mallet, then pour basil mixture over chicken and evenly distribute basil over chicken. Seal bag while pressing excess air out, rub marinade over chicken and transfer to refrigerator and marinate 2 - 5 hours.
Preheat a grill to 425 - 450 degrees over medium high heat. Brush grill grates lightly with olive oil then place chicken on grill. Grill until cooked through, rotating once halfway through cooking, about 4 - 5 minutes per side (chicken should register 165 degrees in center of chicken on an instant read thermometer). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes then slice into strips or dice into cubes.
For the vinaigrette:
Whisk together all ingredients until well blended and season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to use, stir again before pouring over salad.
For the salad:
In a large salad bowl gently toss together lettuce, peaches, corn, pecans, onions, and grilled chicken. Sprinkle goat cheese over top and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve immediately after adding dressing.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy