[donotprint]Apples are coming into season, so I think it's time to reinvent a 100-year old classic. …
Fresh peaches and nectarines just say ‘summer’ to me. They star in markets for a couple months and don’t boast year-round availability like some fruits, even in California where we tend to be spoiled with long growing seasons. So I get really excited about this juicy stone fruit, for eating out of hand and in recipes. Like this Peaches ‘n Cheese salad with feta. And if you’re reading this in the fall or winter, thinly sliced Fuju Persimmons instead of peaches make a very wonderful winter salad.
Though there are three parts to prepare for the salad, the dressing makes extra so you’ll have a home-made dressing ready for later, and any leftover spiced nuts make a great snack. Or, you can easily short-cut by using purchased balsamic dressing and toasted nuts. The peaches star anyway!
Spinach Salad with Peaches and Feta
- 1 6oz package fresh baby spinach
- 1 large ripe peach, or 1-2 nectarines, 3-4 plums
- 1/2 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
- 3-4 Tbsp. Maple-Balsamic Dressing, recipe below
- 3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 cup Spiced Candied Nuts, recipe below
Maple Balsamic Dressing
- 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. orange juice
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Spiced Candied Nuts
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or 1/4tsp. for spicier nuts
- 3 cups pecan and walnut halves
- Prepare dressing and nuts in advance.
- When ready to prepare salad: PLACE spinach, peach slices and dried cherries in a large bowl. Add about 3 tablespoons dressing and mix well, adding additional dressing if needed. Divide salad onto plates and top with feta cheese and nuts.
- Maple Balsamic Dressing: COMBINE all ingredients in a covered container. Shake well. Adjust lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup. (This recipe multiples easily to make a quantity to have on hand.)
- Spiced Candied Nuts: MIX sugar, salt, allspice, and cayenne in a small bowl. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add nuts. Let nuts stand 30 seconds; drain in a colander. Return nuts to saucepan. Stir sugar mixture into hot, wet nuts. Line a baking sheet with parchment, silpat, or foil and coat with cooking spray. Spread nuts evenly onto pan. Bake at 350°F 15-20 minutes until toasted and glazed, stirring every 5-6 minutes. Cool. Store airtight. Makes 3 cups.
- When choosing peaches and nectarines look for an even yellow background color with no green around the stem. They should have a fragrant aroma too.
- If the fruit seems too hard for your preference when purchased – because it’s nearly impossible to transport fully ripened fruit without damaginh – store in a closed paper bag at room temperature out of direct sunlight for a day or two. The ethylene gas from the fruit will allow the fruit to naturally ripen and soften.
- Once ripe, eat stone fruits right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Recipe developed by Rosemary Mark for Stella-Saputo Cheese.