Farmer's Market Friday : Grilled Chicken & Peach Salad

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I love a good summer salad, especially if it's one that can also serve as a main dish! As many of you know, I live in Alabama. It may be that my neighbor state - Georgia - is known for its peaches, but just a few miles south of where I live, there is a county known especially for their amazing peaches! I haven't done a blind taste test panel, but I'd say it would rival any Georgia peach I've ever bought at the grocery store! Each summer, I probably go a little bit overboard at the local farmer's market buying these particular peaches! When traveling South, I am always sure to stop at their shop where they sell peach jam, peach bread, and delicious peach ice cream.  

So what happens when I combine this amazing fresh fruit with my go-to summer cooking prep method? Amazing grilled peaches, of course! Grilling peaches give them the perfect flavor while rendering the juiciest peaches you'll ever taste. They make a perfect addition to salads, pizzas or just as a side dish. Today, I'm sharing with you one of my favorite ways to use these delicious peaches.

I honestly don't know where to begin with this salad because it is just SO good.  I love the combination of greens, fruit, cheese, nuts and veggies in my salads. Now use my favorite local peaches, arugula, red onion, tomato, walnuts and goat cheese and you've got a pretty top notch salad. Top it with grilled chicken marinaded in my homemade all-purpose marinade and you really can't go wrong! 

I hope you find this salad light and refreshing, perfect for summer entertaining or a ladies lunch. I've found that my children don't love the strong flavor of goat cheese, so feel free to omit the cheese or sub your favorite cheese in order to get them to try this amazing salad. You won't be disappointed! 

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Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad

My favorite local peaches, combined with arugula, red onion, tomato, walnuts and goat cheese render a pretty top notch salad. Top it with grilled chicken marinaded in my homemade all-purpose marinade and you really can't go wrong! This salad is perfect for summer entertaining.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 servings of all-purpose marinade (see recipe below)
  • 3 peaches
  • 8 cups arugula
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • TT salt
  • OPTIONAL BALSAMIC REDUCTION: ½ cup balsamic vinegar + 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Marinade chicken breasts in 1 serving of all-purpose marinade for at least 1 hour.
  2. Cut peaches into 1-inch slices. 
  3. Spray grill with non-stick spray and heat to medium-high heat. Grill peach slices on one side for about 5-7 minutes, or until grill lines are achieved.
  4. Grill chicken breasts on medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes each side, depending on thickness.
  5. Let cooked chicken breasts rest for 10 minutes, then slice.
  6. When ready to assemble salad, dress arugula and watercress with remaining 1 serving all-purpose marinade. Add goat cheese, walnuts, red onion, peaches and chicken.  Toss until combined. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
  7. OPTIONAL BALSAMIC REDUCTION: On medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a low boil. Whisk constantly until thick and syrup consistency. Drizzle over the top of salad.

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CW's All-Purpose Marinade & Dressing

You will love this all-purpose marinade and dressing. I list some variations below that will make it a great addition to any type of dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

METHOD

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Store refrigerated in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks. 
  2. See Variations Below:
    1. FRESH HERB VARIATION : Use champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar in place of red wine vinegar; decrease greek seasoning and add fresh herbs of your choice.
    2. ASAIN VARIATION : Use rice vinegar in place of red wine vinegar; use sesame oil and decrease olive oil; add soy sauce.
    3. MEXICAN VARIATION : Sub 2 chipotles in adobo sauce instead of Greek seasoning.

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