This grilled plum, peach and pluot salad atop peppery arugula, dotted with crumbles of fig goat cheese, sprinkled with toasted pepitas, sauteed pancetta and chopped prosciutto, was exactly what the doctor ordered so to speak. Now, that’s a mouthful, figuratively and literally my friends. It was dreamy.
Food, it’s what I throw at every problem. And no, not as in, “Duck! A tomato is coming your way!”, but as in, “Here’s a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies to heal what’s ailing you.” For the most part, my kids are pretty happy with this first line of defense. I can’t tell you the number of chocolate chip cookies we have eaten while listening to the woes of the first days of school or while studying for exams.
I can hear the groans now from the uber health-conscious fans out there. Don’t worry, be happy (this is your cue to click the link and play the song in the background while reading my post); we don’t eat to oblivion and healthy food is readily available at these digs, but sometimes, just nothing else will do but something warm and comforting or sweet and chocolatey.
What the HECK is this salad doing here then in the middle of a down home comfort food revival?! Although not everyone would think of a salad as comfort food, during these hot and fairly oppressive days of summer, where last week it reached 104 degrees, it’s exactly what soothes my soul— and the creamy goat cheese in this grilled stone fruit salad certainly didn’t hurt that ol’ comforting vibe.
While I was trying to shake off some bits of the day that were weighing me down, I started to grill my plums and peaches, simmered down some lovely Blackberry Balsamic to use for the dressing and toasted the pepitas (Waaaaay cheaper than pine nuts, although if you have ’em, you have my blessing to toss those bad boys right in…yum!). Heaviness lifted from my heart, and when I served this beauty of a salad to my hubby, and we inhaled every last morsel, practically licking the balsamic syrup-y goodness from the bottom of the bowl, I was fairly certain that a salad like this could double as comfort food any day of the week.
I hope you get a chance to try this salad before summer is gone. The sweetness of the stone fruits against the peppery arugula just sends it right over the edge to a nirvana that one usually only gets from chocolate. And I would know. 😉
Grilled Stone Fruit and Arugula Summer Salad
The Unrecipe (amounts are a rough guidline)
arugula, two big bunches
1 pluot or other stone fruit
2 thick slices of pancetta
1/4 c. of pepitas
two handfuls of pomegranate seeds
1/3 c. crumbled goat cheese (I used fig, WOW!)
3 slices chopped prosiutto
Balsamic Syrup Dressing
2/3 c. of a sweet flavored balsamic (mine was blackberry but regular balsamic will be just fine)
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
*honey or agave added as needed if yours is too tart for your tastes
For the salad: Cut stone fruits in half. Get a grill pan nice and hot over medium-high heat. Put the stone fruits cuts-side down onto the pan. It should sizzle. Turn the stove down to medium so as not to burn the fruit. After about 30 seconds – 1 minute, flip the fruit over with tongs; just cook a few seconds on the skin side. Remove and let cool on a cutting board.
Begin to make Balsamic Syrup. In a small saucepan, pour in balsamic vinegar. Heat on medium setting and let simmer mildly while you do the rest of the salad steps. If you need to turn the heat to low to prevent a rapid simmer, then do that. You don’t want to burn your vinegar. Simmer for five minutes and then let cool in a liquid measuring cup.
In a medium saute pan, saute pepitas over medium heat. Either toss them around with a wooden spoon or flip them with a spatula every so often. They should only toast until you smell toastiness or see a tinge of light brown. They burn quickly, so don’t leave them unattended. Remove the seeds and let them cool in a bowl.
In the same saute pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat, flipping after a minute and cooking for another minute on the other side. Remove and let sit on a paper towel to absorb excess fat. Wash and dry arugula. Slice cooled stone fruits into thick slices and throw over arugula. Toss in pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Finally, chop the pancetta and prosciutto into bite-sized pieces and add to the salad along with the crumbled goat cheese.
In the liquid measuring cup with Balsamic syrup, whisk in the olive oil and add salt and pepper. Taste and if it’s too tart then add a 1/2 teaspoon of agave or honey at a time until you like it.
Drizzle balsamic dressing over plated salad. Enjoy!
August 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm
With this list of ingredients alone, it’s easy to see it’s a great salad. Adding grilled plums & peaches, a well as the crisped pancetta, would add so much more flavor to the dish. I must give this a try before the plums and peaches are replaced by the pears and apples at the fruit stands. Thanks, Geni!
August 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm
This is amazing… I noted dear Geni, so delicious and so beautiful… Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia
August 24, 2012 at 12:39 am
This salad and it’s flavoursome combo would make life easier 😀
Choc Chip Uru
August 24, 2012 at 3:25 am
This would brighten my day! Looks tasty and light!
August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am
Oh this salad would make me happy! And, I’m humming along with the song right now! I think I’ll just keep replaying it all afternoon 🙂 Love the line, “I’ll give you my phone number, when you feel unhappy, just call me”….I gotta get his number 🙂
Feeding oneself when feeling blue is probably a one way trip to gaining pounds BUT eating a healthy salad is a great idea! I find too that just getting in the kitchen and like you did, grilling and prepping (along with a glass of wine) is all it takes for me to instantly feel at peace. This is a great combination of flavors, I wouldn’t change a thing. The goat cheese sounds perfect with the fruit and I can imagine it being slightly warmed by the grilled fruit. I’m glad you’re day got better, and mine is starting to follow right along.
August 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm
I do that too… throw food at every problem but if I could choose healthier stuff like this salad I wouldn’t feel so guilty afterwards!
I love arugula in a salad and with all these grilled fruits Geni, I can only imagine how good this will taste
August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Stone fruit in salad is a great twist! I’m always seeing berries instead.
August 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm
What a beautiful salad! To me, salad is my kind of comfort food, especially in the summer. I love arugula and can’t get enough. I’ll be going to my In-Law’s place to pick some fresh stone fruits this weekend! Can’t wait to make this salad. Wish you a beautiful weekend.
August 25, 2012 at 6:15 am
Thanks for helping us meet our bikini goal. This is one awesome salad! Take Care, BAM
August 26, 2012 at 1:41 am
I love adding stone fruits in my salads as well.
August 26, 2012 at 6:51 am
Amazing Salad Geni! Interesting ingredients and so very flavorful! Have a lovely weekend!
August 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm
This salad looks perfect for me Geni. And I just adore stone fruits, I don’t use them enough in my cooking!
August 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm
Wow. You really went for it with this one. I love salads like this during the summer when I just can’t imagine making a hot meal, and this one sounds especially amazing. Grilling the fruit is a genius idea too, so much more summery that way. 🙂
August 27, 2012 at 6:49 am
That looks delicious !
I will eat salad n sing Don’t worry, be happy !
August 27, 2012 at 11:37 am
You really have amazing salads. I love this one. I have to make this, this week for lunch as I did your shrimp salad 🙂
August 28, 2012 at 9:43 am
This is a beautiful salad filled with such delicious ingredients! I could totally eat this every day in these warm months!
August 28, 2012 at 10:56 am
Love your salad Geni…especially with all the seasonal fruits…perfect for lunch.
Hope you are having a nice week 🙂
August 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm
What a great salad Geni! I can see exactly why your cares and worries melted away. I’m all for soothing with food. Made myself a batch of my favorite pasta last night. 😉
August 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm
Easy, quick, fast, tasty, filling.
August 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm
summer or no summer- I will still be making this salad. love the grilled stone fruit and the woody nutty taste of the arugula!
August 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm
I find backing really has two benefits – the actual baking does de-stress me, and then sharing the food is a wonderful way to relieve woes. I look forward to making this when our summer comes around (and it does seem to be peeping it’s head around the corner…)
August 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm
Sounds like comfort food to me–with a side of fried chicken and mac and cheese!
August 30, 2012 at 10:09 am
UGH I’m sick of this hot weather!!! Let it be winter already (never thought I’d say that). This salad sounds so refreshing, and the perfect meal for this time of year. There’s not an ingredient I don’t love in that salad–particularly the grilled fruit! Yummm can I come over? 🙂
September 2, 2012 at 8:07 am
Oh!!! I had to look that up, I’ve been hearing about pluots lately but haven’t seen them here!! Now I’m off to investigate at the market! If I can’t, no worries, I’m going to grill extra peaches:D This is the salad for me today!! I love this one!!
September 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm
I hope you had a great summer! Although it’s still 90 degrees out in the valley!
I totally need to make this salad – I love everything about it!
September 6, 2012 at 7:50 am
Salads with stone fruit are my absolutely favorite. I’ve been making them daily for weeks now. This one sounds delicious!
October 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm
YUM! This looks really really good! I love stone fruit but I’ve never tried them in a salad. I can tell you right now I’m going to love it! Thanks for this recipe!