This past Fourth of July, Roy and I were lucky enough to be able to spend it at the lake. We were happy that Caroline and her boyfriend Adam were there with us and glad that Jennifer had worked out a way to join us. However, it started out to be an unusual type of day. When we woke up, the sky was overcast and gray with the threat of rain. Adding to that minor disappointment (the lake is still beautiful, whatever the weather is), was a phone call from Jenn saying she had gotten a flat tire on her way up to join us. So the morning was spent watching the sky and talking with Jenn about the how her rental car didn't have a spare and the steps she and her travel companion were going to take to get back on the road. Thankfully, the sun came out about noon, but Jenn didn't resume her trip until three o'clock. Our point of rendezvous was Traverse City and Jenn's ETA was about 7 p.m. We were planning to see the fireworks there that night, so we packed some sandwiches and hopped in the car. We also wanted to see the parade that started at 6:30. And - I had another mission in the back of my mind. My friend Tanya had told me about Fustini's, a great store that sells infused vinegars and olive oils, on Front Street. The National Cherry Festival was also going on and when we drove into town and there were people everywhere! We found a space to park, walked through the crowd, and found a spot to watch the parade - right in front of Fustini's! Of course I went crazy and bought lots of wonderful stuff such as peach balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil. Just as I was checking out, Jenn texted me that she was trying to locate us, and I went to find her with all my purchases in my arms. The grilled peach salad in this post is a result of playing around with the wares from Fustini's, but any vinegar or olive oil could be substituted. Champagne vinegar or plain white balsamic would work in place of the peach infused.
Grilled Peach Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese
4 ripe peaches
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used basil infused)
1 large package of salad greens
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
4 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 fresh baguette, sliced and toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup peach infused white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Optional: 3 to 4 chicken breasts grilled and sliced
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush each side with the one tablespoon of the olive oil and grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes per side to achieve nice grill marks.
While the peaches are grilling, combine the lettuce, 1/4 cup basil, and green onions. Place the greens mixture on a serving platter or on individual plates. When the peaches are done, cool slightly, slice and add to greens. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place them on top. If using, add the grilled and sliced chicken.
Combine the goat cheese with the 1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.
The herbed goat cheese is great served to the side with the toasted baguette slices or even sprinkled on top of the salad. It is especially yummy spread on a toasted baguette slice and topped with a grilled peach slice. Drizzle a little balsamic over that, and it's heaven!
For the dressing combine the 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.