Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends.
Many of my favorite restaurant salads, which look fancy and complex at first, can actually be boiled down to a formula: Delicate greens + juicy fruit + creamy cheese + crunchy nut. So I decided to give it a try myself, opting for ingredients that I find especially summery and fun.
I grilled the peaches to add a touch of savory depth to this overall bright and light dish, providing a counter-note to the combined sweetness of the fruit and candied nuts. Grilling stone fruit is remarkably easy, but note that the size of your peaches can impact the cooking time. If you’re working with particularly small peaches, for example, use a spatula to peek underneath at their progress—an exception to the “grill undisturbed” rule. Also aim for peaches that are just ripe enough to show their signature sweetness, but with no mush-factor whatsoever. It’s better to err on the side of less ripe here, as fruit with some structure will be easier to work with.
You can candy the nuts up to five days ahead. Or you can skip this step and just give them a quick toast in a pan until they’re fragrant.
Arugula and fresh mint serve as the base for the salad, but when you’re portioning out the plates, remember that the peaches and fresh cheese are the stars here. That’s also why I went with a simple vinaigrette, using good olive oil and brown sugar for a rich taste that complements the fruit and echoes the candied nuts. With this recipe, I like to dress the greens more heavily than normal so the toppings pick up extra flavor as you eat.
The roasted fruit and thick, creamy burrata make this a solid vegetarian dish, but it could also be bulked up with some grilled chicken, seasoned simply with salt and pepper.
I looked to match this with a light and zesty white wine that would counterbalance the sweetness and richness without overpowering the subtleties like fresh mint. A South African blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Sémillon made a good pick, mixing sweet citrus and orchard fruit with some herbal elements that echoed the dish nicely.
Go forth with this surefire salad formula however you please, swapping in your favorite ingredients for a dish that fits the season and your mood.
Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad
Pair with a bright, herb-tinged white wine such as Edgebaston Honey Shale Hill 2017 (87 points, $15).
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Approximate food costs: $25
- 4 peaches, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing peaches
- 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 small handfuls of arugula, about 2 cups total
- 15–20 mint sprigs
- 8-ounce ball of burrata
1. Preheat a grill pan over medium high for 3 minutes. Lightly brush peaches with olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add peaches, working in batches if necessary, and let grill undisturbed for about 2 minutes on each side until the peaches develop dark grill marks. Transfer to a plate to cool.
2. Add pistachios and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to a pan over medium heat. Stir fairly constantly, especially toward the end, for about 5 minutes until sugar melts and coats the nuts. If the sugar starts to burn in spots, reduce heat to medium low. Transfer candied nuts to a plate, season with a pinch of salt, and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and remaining brown sugar. Stream in olive oil while whisking until combined, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place arugula and mint in a large bowl, add the dressing to taste, and toss.
4. For each plate, place a small handful of greens in the center. Scatter the peaches and candied pistachios over the top, evenly distributing them among the plates.
5. On a cutting board, gently slice open the burrata and use a spoon to top each plate with several bite-sized scoops. Season each scoop with a pinch of salt and pepper. Serves 4.