Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Peaches: You’ll know you got it right when peach juice drips from the corner of your lips and onto your white shirt. In three places. On the first bite. I know from experience.
Is it ‘BLUE’ cheese or “BLEU” cheese?
Seriously. Seriously! I need answers. I prefer Bleu because it seems more O.G., authentic, proper, and French. But I get a red squiggly spellcheck line when I write it that way. According to Google Trends, more people in the world are searching for the spelling Blue and so I guess I will go with that.
This recipe is an update to the post Grilled Peach Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon. I just thought the pictures, though not bad, could be better. But then I decided that the recipe could be better. And then I logged in to update and republish and discovered that I had already updated the original post. It would be weird to update an update, right?
On our drive home from Mackinac Island, my sailing pals and I decided to take a (cherry) pit stop in Holland, Michigan, which is known for its cherries. Apparently. At least, according to one crew member. We found Dutch Farm Market, a pleasant produce stand close to the interstate with baller small batch ice cream and homemade cones, and purchased peaches galore, raspberries, blueberries, and yes, cherries. If you’re making Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Peaches, I recommend using the freshest, juiciest peaches you can find in the middle of the summer. Popping them on a grill (or grill pan) seems to improve even the best farmer’s market haul. You’ll know you got it right when peach juice drips from the corner of your lips and onto your white shirt. In three places. On the first bite. I know from experience.
I taught myself the wilting method a while back when I first started dating Mr. Cassanova. I found it online somewhere and committed it to memory, then pretended that I was just “whipping up something like I do all the time” once we were in the kitchen together. He still talks about that salad. I tricked him into thinking “I just whip up great things with a snap of my fingers” and now he lives with me. I think he’s discovered the truth, which is that I never went to culinary school and 50 percent of what I make is pretty #basic. The other half, the really good 50 percent, gets made in the middle of the day when the sunlight is at its best and he’s at the office. He thought dating me would be his ticket to eating like a king! Hah!
But anyway, the wilting method just feels very European. It turns a pretty ho-hum bowl of spinach into something epicurean. I also like to toss my blue cheese in the warm pan for a few seconds to get that a little melty too. So you’ve got this warm, wilted spinach with soft caramelized onions, tossed in this blue-cheesy infused balsamic vinaigrette and that combination just goes gangbusters with the salty, crispy bacon, the candied walnuts, and that juicy grilled peach. And because that combination is exactly right, you could pretty much eat this salad all summer long and be extremely happy about it. Mr. Cassanova will report in on that later next month!
Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Peaches, Bacon, and Blue Cheese
You've got this warm, wilted spinach with soft caramelized onions, tossed in this blue-cheesy infused balsamic vinaigrette and that combination just goes gangbusters with the salty, crispy bacon, the candied walnuts, and that juicy grilled peach.
This recipe serves four people as a main dish or 8-10 as an appetizer or side.
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
For the Salad
- 2 large bunches of fresh spinach about 12 oz or 12 cups
- 8 slices bacon
- 4 peaches cut in half, pit removed
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions halved, cut into 1/3-inch sections with some core attached
- 1/2 cup candied walnuts
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
Using a food processor or blender, blend together vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. While blending, slowly stream in olive oil to emulsify. Set vinaigrette aside.
For the Salad
Place all the spinach in a large bowl.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, fry bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan.
Add onion to the remaining bacon fat and cook over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add blue cheese crumbles for just a few seconds until soft, but not melted. Add onions and blue cheese to the bowl of spinach and toss slowly so the spinach is evenly wilted by heat from the onions.
Place the peach halves cut side down in the warm pan and sear about 5 minutes until marked. You can also grill the peaches cut side down on a preheated grill. Meanwhile, add walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette to the salad and toss until evenly coated.
Divide salad evenly among plates. Add strips of bacon and peach halves.